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Parshah Roundup

Parshah Roundup

Chayei Sarah - The Life of Sarah


This week’s parshah begins with a sad event: Sarah dies at the age of 127. Abraham is very sad and mourns her passing. He buys a piece of land on which to bury her which is called the Cave of Machpelah in the city of Hebron. He pays 400 silver shekels. This is the place where all of our patriarchs (Adam, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and Matriarchs (Eve, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah) are buried.

Isaac is now forty years old and not married. Abraham asks his trusted servant Eliezer to go to Charan, Abraham’s city of birth, and find a wife for Isaac. Eliezer brings lots of beautiful jewelry and gifts for the future wife. But how will he find her? There were many girls in Charan! So he asks G‑d for a sign to let him know which girl is the right one for Isaac. The sign is that when he will ask a girl for water to drink from the well, she will offer to give water to the camels as well.

Well, along comes Rebecca (remember she was born in last week’s parshah?) who offers water to Eliezer and the camels and invites him to her father’s house. When Eliezer asks for her hand in marriage on behalf of Rebecca’s great uncle Abraham, Rebecca says yes. She was happy to marry a righteous and kind person such as Isaac and get away from her family who were not very honest nor righteous.

Rebecca travels to the land of Canaan with Eliezer and marries Isaac. When Isaac marries her he understands that she is the right wife for him and feels a bit better after losing his mother Sarah. How is that? When Sarah was alive there were three great miracles which happened every week: the challah she baked for Shabbat stayed fresh from one week to the next; the candles she lit on Friday night stayed lit the whole week; and there was a cloud on her tent which was a sign that G‑d was present all the time. When she passed away these miracles stopped; after Isaac and Rebecca got married they returned. That was Isaac’s sign that she was the right one for him—that Rebecca was pious and righteous just like Sarah was!

Abraham also remarries Keturah who is actually Hagar, the wife Abraham married before he and Sarah had Isaac. Why the new name? Because she repented from her not good ways and started a new life as a better person. At the end of the Parshah we learn that Abraham dies at age 175 and is buried next to Sarah in the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron.

Chani Benjaminson is co-director of Chabad of the South Coast, coordinator of Chabad’s Ask the Rabbi and Feedback departments, and is a member of the editorial staff of
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Anonymous November 4, 2015

very good materials for children and families Reply

Anonymous The South November 13, 2014

Thank you We love this week's parsha roundup.
Day School kids down soluth Reply

Anonymous miami, fl October 27, 2010

to city of birth That is according to one opinion. Another commentator says that he was actually born in Charan. Shivim panim Latorah - there are 70 ways to explain the torah! This certainly comes in now! Reply

Liv & Jack montreal November 14, 2009

Thanks again We liked the last paragraph of the Parashah roundup.. it was very interesting Reply

Sora Jacobs Glasgow, Scotland November 10, 2009

parsha I teach in a regular non religious day school and the children really enjoy your parsha round up. I also find it very handy thanks and continued success. Reply

Anonymous November 20, 2008

City of birth I thought Avraham was born in Ur Kasdim, and only travelled to Charan after the whole episode of Nimrod throwing him in the furnace? This article describes Charan as his city of birth? Reply

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