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Chayei Sarah Summaries

Chayei Sarah 5777-2016

“Sarah Dies at Age 127”
The Matriarch Sarah lived 127 years of righteous life, which served as a model of righteousness for many generations of Jews.

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Chayei Sarah 5776-2015

“The Legacy of Ishmael”

The tendency of the descendants of Jacob to diminish the “specialness” of the children of Ishmael may be understandable, especially in light of the painful contemporary events. Nevertheless, upon examining the Biblical sources, it is impossible to deny the special qualities and endowments of the children of Ishmael.

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Chayei Sarah 5775-2014

“Are Marriages Made in Heaven?”

When Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, asks Laban and Bethuel, Rebecca’s brother and father, whether they will allow Rebecca to return to Canaan to marry Abraham’s son, they reply: “The matter stemmed from the L-rd! We can say to you, neither bad nor good.” Are marriages made in heaven?

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Chayei Sarah 5774-2013

“Yitzchak Establishes a Home with His New Wife”

The betrothal of Isaac and Rebecca can serve as a most valuable case study for finding a mate and establishing a successful home environment.

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Chayei Sarah 5773-2012

“Beware Not to Return My Son There!”

Why was Abraham so adamant about not allowing his servant, Eliezer, to take Abraham’s son, Isaac, out of the land of Israel to look for an appropriate mate?

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Chayei Sarah 5772-2011

“The Mystery of Machpelah”

Why was Abraham so singularly determined to bury Sarah in the cave of Machpelah? Apparently, the cave had a very special meaning to him. As a result of Abraham’s actions, Machpelah was to develop into a most revered location for all Jews throughout the ages.

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Chayei Sarah 5771-2010

“What Shall I Do, My Parents Hate Him?!”

In parashat Chayei Sarah, we encounter the world’s first shidduch (arranged marriage) and the world’s first shadchan (matchmaker). In the past, we have discussed how Jewish law mandates that a woman not be married against her will, but what about the more general question related to children who refuse to listen to their parents’ opinion regarding choosing a mate, and wish to marry mates to whom their parents object? What is the protocol?

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Chayei Sarah 5770-2009

“The Willing Bride”

When Rebecca is asked by her family members if she wishes to join Eliezer on his journey back to Abraham in Canaan, she responds with a forceful “Yes!” Her response serves as a basis for several important laws that govern parent-child relationships in Judaism.

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Chayei Sarah 5769-2008

“Mourning and Eulogizing”

In parashat Chayei Sarah, Abraham comes to eulogize Sarah and to weep for her. What is the purpose of a eulogy? Who is it meant to honor, and what is it expected to achieve?

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Chayei Sarah 5768-2007

“O Captain, My Captain”

Abraham passes away at age 175. His passing and his burial are described in only four verses. Yet there is much to be gleaned from the nuances of the text. The Midrash and the sages derive many powerful lessons from this brief biblical passage.

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Chayei Sara 5767-2006

“A Match Made in Haran”

Why was Abraham so insistent that his son Isaac not leave the land of Canaan? Why was it necessary for the new bride to commit herself to Isaac without ever seeing him or meeting his actual family?

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Chayei Sara 5766-2005

“Who Is Keturah?”

Our rabbis debate who was “Keturah,” the new wife that Abraham takes at the end of parashat Chayei Sarah. There are those that say that she was an entirely new wife. Others argue that Keturah is really Hagar, whom Abraham brought back and remarried. In his mission to be “Av hamon goyim“–a father to many nations–Abraham has six additional children with Keturah and five grandchildren. It is not unlikely that these children, grandchildren and great grandchildren influenced the world with the little Abrahamic tradition that they undoubtedly imbibed from their grandfather and great grandfather.

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Chayei Sara 5765-2004

“Reaching Out to Family Members”

Despite the fact that all his family who still resided in his native Mesopotamia were steeped in idolatry, Abraham decides to send Eliezer back to his homeland to find a bride for his son, Isaac. There is much we can learn from Abraham’s perseverance and persistence in reaching out to and retrieving his family members who were so distant from his faith and his traditions.

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Chayei Sara 5764-2003

“Who Was the Matriarch Sarah?”

The death of Sarah, one of the physical and metaphysical progenitors of the Jewish people, is recounted in this week’s parasha. In a few short lines of this week’s parasha, an abundance of information is revealed about who Sarah was. Her life, though not easy, was full. And when she departed from the mortal world, she left an invaluable spiritual legacy for posterity.

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Chayei Sara 5763-2002

“The Torah’s Recipe for Finding a Proper Mate”

This week’s parasha is a primary source from which we learn much about the qualities that one should look for when seeking a mate. The lessons that may be gleaned from our scriptures serve as a sound guide, even for contemporary times. They are not primitive. In fact, in many instances, they are light-years ahead of contemporary practices and understandings.

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Chayei Sara 5762-2001

“Raising Jewish Children In A Challenging Environment”

Abraham had eight children: Isaac, Ishmael and his six children with Keturah. Only Isaac and Ishmael are reported to have attended Abraham’s burial, and only Isaac is expected to continue the spiritual legacy of Abraham. Nevertheless, the Zohar Chadash notes that even the six children of Keturah are called Abraham’s children, attesting to the fact that they carried the spark of Abraham in their souls, however much it may be hidden. There are many lessons that we may learn from Abraham and his child-rearing techniques.

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Chayei Sara 5761-2000

“The Personality of Isaac: The Passive Patriarch”

Much of the life of Isaac appears to reflect his seemingly passive nature. Yet it is apparently through his passivity that he achieves greatness. It is Isaac, the “passive patriarch,” who takes hold of the land of Israel, probably because he, as opposed to Abraham and Jacob, never left the land. He toiled on the land, worked the land, plowed the land and harvested the land. Through his quiet perseverance, Isaac achieved more than many others accomplish with much noise and bravado.

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Chayei Sara 5760-1999

“The First Encounter Between Rebecca and Isaac: A Revealing Insight Into the Future”

When Rebecca raises her eyes and first sees Isaac, she falls off the camel and promptly covers her face with a veil. At the time, Isaac is returning from Be’er L’chai Ro’ee. We see that at their very first encounter, both Isaac and Rebecca carry much baggage with them. Isaac may still be recovering from the trauma of the Akeidah, and Rebecca’s actions reflect her feelings of inadequacy about coming from a rather decadent idolatrous background and being betrothed to a great spiritual man. This encounter may explain the unusual relationship that the future couple will have.

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