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This week's 10-Minute Torah (November 14, 2020): "Chayei Sarah" 5781


Parashat Chayei Sarah 5781


The sedrah opens with Sarah dying at the age of 127. The parashat lists her age as "100 years, twenty years and seven years". At 100 she was as sinless as she was at twenty, and at twenty she was as pure as when she was seven. Since this is juxtaposed and comes right after the incident of Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac, her only son, the sages presumed that while she died of natural causes, this hastened her death.


Abraham makes a deal with Efron, the chief of the Hittites, to buy land that includes the Cave of Machpelah to be a sepulcher for Sarah. He will be buried with her when the time is right. He then marries a woman named Keturah, whom some sages believe is Hagar. She has grown and is now more righteous, hence the change of name.


Abraham knows that Isaac is taking the mantle of worshipping the one, true God and needs a wife who will be his partner and support him in that mission. He has his servant, Eliezer, his main disciple, go back to his people to find one. He sends with him 10 camels laden with riches as a dowry.


Eliezer prays to Hashem to help him find the right girl, one who will offer him and his camels water for refreshment. No sooner does he finish his prayer then Rebecca shows up and offers him exactly that. Eliezer tells her of his mission, gives her two gold bracelets and a nose ring and ten coins, and she takes him back to meet her family.


Laban, Rebecca’s older brother, sees the wealth that Eliezer has brought with him and welcomes him into their home. Rebecca agrees to go with Eliezer and forego the usual 10 month – 1 year waiting/betrothal period. They arrive at dusk and find Isaac in the field praying. The sages say that he instituted the Mincha, or afternoon, prayer, just as his father Abraham instituted the Shachrit or Morning prayer.


When they saw each other, they fell in love. Isaac took Rebecca to be his wife and he was comforted for his mother. Abraham dies and leaves his legacy to Isaac.

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