Weekly Reading Insights: Chayei Sara 5764



Overview of the Weekly Reading: Chayei Sara

To be read on 27 Cheshvan 5764 (Nov. 22)

Chayei Sara is the 5th Reading out of 12 in Genesis and 5th overall, and 37th out of 54 in overall length.
Genesis 23:1-25:18; Haftorah: Kings I 1:1-31 (because the first verse is like Gen. 24:1)

Pirkei Avot: not till after Passover

Sarah died at the age of 127. Avraham bought the Cave of Machpelah. Avraham sent his servant to look for a wife for his son, making him swear not to bring back a wife from the daughters of the Canaanites. The servant left for Nachor, and arriving at the well, he asked G-d to give him a sign. Rivkah appeared to collect water. The servant asked if he may have some, and after he drank she drew more water for his camels. The servant spent the night in her father’s house. Her father agreed to let Rivkah marry Yitzchak. Avraham remarried Keturah, who bore him six sons. Avraham died at the age of 175, and was buried in the Cave of Machpelah, next to Sarah. Ishmael had twelve sons, each princes for their nations. He died at the age of 137. His descendants lived in the land on the border of Egypt all the way to Assyria.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:05-64/Chayei Sara )

ICome and see how many supernal secrets there are hidden in the Torah. This is why King Solomon states, "She is more precious than pearls" (Proverbs 3:15).

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:05-64//Chayei Sara )

Furthermore, the teacher's emotional involvement and excitement with the subject he is teaching will ignite in his students their will to dedicate themselves to the cause and pursue its ends. In other words, his middot (chesed-gevura-tiferet) will become the will (keter) of his charges.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the Shelah, Shney Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (S:05-64/Chayei Sara )

Rabbi Shimon said that when Abraham entered the cave of Machpela to bury Sarah, Adam and Eve arose, as they did not want to remain buried in there. They complained that they had suffered sufficient disgrace in the world beyond the grave where they were now having to face G-d, because they had been guilty of bringing sin into the world.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


"Let it be that the maiden to whom I will say, 'Let down your pitcher, I pray you, that I may drink,' and she will say, 'Drink, and I will also give drink to your camels'." (24:14)

This "test" of a potential bride for Isaac was not chosen arbitrarily, for it involves the very nature of holiness: The main distinction between holiness and its opposite is that holiness is directed outward; it overflows, influences its surroundings and infuses them with life. The nature of unholiness, by contrast, is to take and acquire for itself. When Eliezer saw that Rebecca not only gave him to drink but provided water for his camels, he took it as a sign that she "belonged" to the side of holiness, and was worthy of marrying the son of Abraham.

(Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi)

"The servant ran towards her." (24:17)

Rashi explains, Eliezer ran toward Rebecca because he had just seen the water in the well spontaneously rise. But having just witnessed an open miracle, why would Eliezer need further evidence that Rebecca was kind? Rather, this teaches that one positive character trait in a person is worth more than a hundred wonders and miracles.

(Rabbi Yechezkel of Kozmir)


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:05-64/Chayei Sara )

Though lacking in specifics, this week's portion contains the first description of how a match came about between our foreparents, Yitzchak and Rivka.
According to Rebbe Michil of Zlotchov, the secret of a good marriage is learning Torah!
Eliezer, Avraham's servant, describes the events leading to his meeting Rivka, (214/43), "And I was standing by the well, and the daughters of the townspeople approached".
Eliezer just mentioned in the previous verse that he was by the well. Why does he repeat this detail?
Rebbe Michil answers with a teaching he received from his father about Hagar, Sara's maidservant from last week's portion.
When Hagar was sent from Avraham's home, the Torah says that an angel found her by a well. Once she was no longer a member of Avraham's household, she no longer had the merit to see angels. It was only by a well that an angel could appear to her because of the holy dimension of water. Water is compared to and connected to Torah, G-d's will and wisdom.
Just like Torah, water comes from the highest heights into the world, in order to nourish and strengthen. So it was only by water that the angel could appear to her.

Similarly with Eliezer. Eliezer was an extremely humble person. He assumed that because of his lowliness and unworthiness the Holy One blessed be He would not allow him to fulfill his mission. Therefore, he specifically states that he was standing by a well. Even if he was not worthy, perhaps in the merit of the water, he would be able to do as his master requested of him.

This connects to what it says in the Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni, Yechezkel, 331a), that outside of Israel, G-d's indwelling presence -the Shechina- can not reveal itself except near water, due to water's special qualities, as mentioned above. The lesson for all of us is, to insure that we succeed in all of our endeavors (and particularly in our marriages!) we must study Torah which is called a flowing well. Through Torah study, which is compared to water, the Shechina can dwell with us. This will bring great revelations, and ultimately, please G-d soon, the redemption.

The Shlah writes that it is a great merit to succeed in helping your children find their soul mates. Do your best to connect to good families just as Avraham did. Although it became apparent later that Rivka was a righteous prophetess, Avraham ostensibly recommended her originally because she was from a good family, relative to those times.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul Leiter

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