Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Torah, Haftarah, Brit Chadasha #5 Chayei Sarah: "Life of Sarah" 5778/2017

RaYBaSH’s Torah Thought’s
Parashah #5: Chayei Sarah “Life of Sarah”
B’reshit (Genesis) 23:1-25:17
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr


Chapter 23 begins this Torah Portion with the death of Sarah and Abraham’s purchase of a burial site for her.

In Chapter 24 Abraham makes arrangements to secure a wife for Yitzhak (Isaac) then the chapter goes into the story of Abraham’s most trusted and loyal servant Eleazar finding, with God’s help, a suitable wife for Abraham’s son and heir.

Chapter 25 ends the Parashah with Abraham’s line of children through Keturah, Abraham’s death, and Ishmael’s children and his death.


We continue with this weeks Torah Portion looking at Abraham: The most influential and pivotal character in all of the three major religions of the world: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and the most pivotal and influential character in all of Scripture second only to Yeshua the Messiah. In fact we have seen that Abraham was type and picture of the Messiah.

It seems the story of Abraham’s life is riddled with trials and tribulations, hence another point where he is like the Messiah. Prophecy tells us that the Messiah will be called a MAN OF SORROWS.

Is. 53:3 “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (KJV) – bold italics added.

And indeed Yeshua was. But Abraham was too no less. Consequently Jewish Tradition speaks of the 10 Trials of Abraham:

“Throughout Jewish literature, the Sages make frequent reference to the ten trials of Abraham. Through them Abraham was accorded special status as servant of G-d and progenitor of the Jewish People. It's not entirely clear, however, exactly what the ten trials were. Many, of course, are evident from Scriptures -- Abraham's exile from his homeland for the Land of Israel, his willingness to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. Others are a matter of dispute among the commentators. Below I list a total of 11 trials -- a combination of the opinions of Maimonides and Rabbeinu Yonah in their commentaries to our Mishnah, noting those trials which are a matter of dispute.
(1) Abraham's allowing himself to be cast into a fiery furnace by Nimrod for opposing the idolatry of his day. (Rabbeinu Yonah only.)
(2) Abraham, on G-d's instruction, leaving his family and homeland for the Land of Israel (Genesis 12:1).
(3) Abraham's forced exile to Egypt shortly after arriving in Israel as result of famine (ibid., v. 10). Rabbeinu Yonah explains that even though G-d promised Abraham blessings for moving to Israel -- and Abraham instead suffered hardship -- he bore no ill will towards G-d -- even in his heart.
(4) Sarah's abduction into Pharaoh's palace (ibid., v. 15).
(5) Abraham's battle against "the four kings" (Genesis 14). Abraham and his students battled the mightiest armies of the time for the sake of G- d's honor and in order to rescue his nephew Lot.
(6) Abraham's taking Hagar, Sarah's maidservant, as concubine after failing to have children with Sarah for so many years (16:1-3). (Maimonides only.)
(7) Abraham's being commanded to circumcise himself, in spite of his advanced age (ch. 17).
(8) Sarah's abduction into Avimelech's palace (20:2).
(9) Abraham's expelling of Hagar and Ishmael from his home -- on Sarah's instructions and G-d's sanction (21:9-14). Ishmael proved to be a wicked son who would have exerted a harmful influence on Isaac. As the Torah there attests, the incident was terribly distressing to Abraham, in part because he had to send his elder son away and in part because of the realization of his elder son's failings. (Maimonides lists the banishing of Hagar and Ishmael as two separate trials.)
(10) The binding and near slaughter of Isaac on Mount Moriah (22:1-19).
(11) Abraham's purchase of a burial plot for Sarah (ch. 23). After G-d many times promised Abraham the Land of Israel, he was forced to spend an exorbitant amount in purchase of a plot to bury his wife. (Rabbeinu Yonah only.)”  - Chapter 5, Mishna 4 By Rabbi Dovid Rosenfeld

Here we see Abraham mourning the loss of his beautiful and beloved wife Sarah, and we find him making funeral arrangements despite the cost.

“As the later verses reveal, Ephron’s public generosity was a sham. Not only had he no intention of making a gift, he hypocritically implied to Avraham that he expected an outrageously high price. As the sages put it, the righteous say little but do much, but the wicked promise much and perform not even a little. They would offer to anoint with oil from an empty flask.” – Stone’s Edition of the Tanach commentary on Gen. 23:11
“Said Rabbi Judan the son of Rabbi Simon: This is one of the three places regarding which the nations of the world cannot accuse Israel and say, "You have stolen them." The three places are: the Cave of Machpeilah, the site of the Holy Temple, and the tomb of Joseph at Shechem. The cave of Machpeilah, as it is written: "And Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver"; The Temple: "So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold" (I Chronicles 21:25). And Joseph s tomb: "And [Jacob] bought the parcel of land (at Shechem) for a hundred pieces of silver (Genesis 33:19).”-- Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 33:19

“As per Leviticus 27:16, a field the size of a beit-kur, which is the equivolent of 75,000 square cubits, represents a value of 50 silver shekels. Thus, the size of the field which Abraham purchased for 400 silver shekels was eight kur, or 600,000 square cubits.
A square cubit (approx. 20 inches by 20 inches) is the space occupied by a single person. This means that Abraham purchased a plot of land that provides an individual "space" for each of the 600,000 souls of Israel.” -- Paaneach Raza

“Our sages tell us that the Torah contains 600,000 letters (counting the spaces between letters), for each Jew possesses something of the Torah. The same is true of the Land of Israel. Israel is the eternal inheritance of the Jewish people, equally the property of every individual Jew. And so it has been from the very first moment of Jewish ownership of the Holy Land: the first plot of land obtained by the first Jew included a share for every Jewish soul.”--The Lubavitcher Rebbe

We can deduce from this that Abraham was not only “a man of sorrows acquainted with grief,” but also a man of:
·       DIGNITY, PRIDE, HONOR, and RESPECT for the living and the dead.
·       He was a PROVIDER for his family in life and in death.
·       And a GOOD HUSBAND in life and in death.
I had failed to mention in previous Torah Portions that Abraham was a PROTECTOR to Sarah and Yitzhak (Isaac), keeping them, and protecting them from present and potential dangers.
·       Lying to protect Sarah’s sexual purity and honor.
·       Sending Ishmael away from Yitzhak (Isaac).
·       Protecting and rescuing Lot.
And in paying the exorbant amount, we see Abraham was a HUMBLE, MAN OF HIS WORD, TRUTHFUL, TRUSTWORTHY, and BUISNESSMAN.

 Gen. 24:1-4 “And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.” (KJV)

Abraham knew that to Yitzhak (Isaac), that it was to whom the line of the Seed of Promise was to come, the Messiah. To keep the linage pure he not only wanted Yitzhak (Isaac) to marry close within the family, but also he understood that the spiritual linage couldn’t be tainted with the pagan Canaanite cults. If Judaism and the Jewish people were to continue he had to insure that Yitzhak (Isaac) would have a willing, supportive spouse just like Sarah was, and in fact the Rabbi’s and Sages say that Rivkah (Rebecca) was almost identical to Sarah in most every way. After all Rivkah (Rebecca) was Sarah’s niece.

“"And Isaac brought her into the tent--his mother Sarah" implying that when she came into the tent she became, in effect, his mother Sarah.
For as long as Sarah lived, a cloud (signifying the divine presence) hung over her tent; when she died, the cloud disappeared; but when Rebecca came, it returned.
As long as Sarah lived, her doors were wide open; at her death that openhandedness ceased; but when Rebecca came, it returned.
As long as Sarah lived, there was a blessing on her dough, and the lamp used to burn from the evening of the Sabbath until the evening of the following Sabbath; when she died, these ceased; but when Rebecca came, they returned.” -- Midrash Rabbah; Rashi

Here we find Abraham was a:
·       FUTURIST
·       OPTIMIST
·       A man of PREPARATION
·       And a TEACHER
No doubt instilling within Yitzhak (Isaac) the importance of his role and the responsibility he had to the future of the Jewish people and the Jewish Faith. No doubt he instilled within him the Torah.
And for Eleazar to be so willing, loyal, and humble to do this great and weighty task for Abraham without even a hint of resentment or jealousy (for before Yitzhak (Isaac), he, Eleazar was to inherit Abraham’s estate) shows that Abraham was loved, honored, and respected by all his servants. From this we can conclude he was, as I like to call, a SHEPHARD KING. In other words he led by example, he was a servant to his servants, just like Yeshua.

John 13:4-5, 14-17 “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded…If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” (KJV)

Let us return to out Parashah text:

 Gen. 25:1 “Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.”

According to Jewish Tradition Keturah was Hagar who converted (thus the name change) to Judaism and thus Abraham took her back after Sarah’s death seeing as she never married after Abraham. If she did, she would have been unable according to Torah to remarry and or return Abraham.
The Midrash; Rashi says:

“Abraham remarried Keturah (Hagar), who was given this name because her deeds were as beautiful as incense (ketores), and because she had remained chaste (Keturah is Aramaic for restrained) from the time she was separated from Avraham.”

In the book of Jasher we see what a GOOD FATHER Abraham was to Ishmael, even thought they were separated from each other.

Jasher  21:22-48 “And in some time after, Abraham said to Sarah his wife, I will go and see my son Ishmael, for I have a desire to see him, for I have not seen him for a long time. And Abraham rode upon one of his camels to the wilderness to seek his son Ishmael, for he heard that he was dwelling in a tent in the wilderness with all belonging to him. And Abraham went to the wilderness, and he reached the tent of Ishmael about noon, and he asked after Ishmael, and he found the wife of Ishmael sitting in the tent with her children, and Ishmael her husband and his mother were not with them. And Abraham asked the wife of Ishmael, saying, Where has Ishmael gone? and she said, He has gone to the field to hunt, and Abraham was still mounted upon the camel, for he would not get off to the ground as he had sworn to his wife Sarah that he would not get off from the camel. And Abraham said to Ishmael's wife, My daughter, give me a little water that I may drink, for I am fatigued from the journey. And Ishmael's wife answered and said to Abraham, We have neither water nor bread, and she continued sitting in the tent and did not notice Abraham, neither did she ask him who he was. But she was beating her children in the tent, and she was cursing them, and she also cursed her husband Ishmael and reproached him, and Abraham heard the words of Ishmael's wife to her children, and he was very angry and displeased. And Abraham called to the woman to come out to him from the tent, and the woman came and stood opposite to Abraham, for Abraham was still mounted upon the camel. And Abraham said to Ishmael's wife, When thy husband Ishmael returneth home say these words to him, A very old man from the land of the Philistines came hither to seek thee, and thus was his appearance and figure; I did not ask him who he was, and seeing thou wast not here he spoke unto me and said, When Ishmael thy husband returneth tell him thus did this man say, When thou comest home put away this nail of the tent which thou hast placed here, and place another nail in its stead. And Abraham finished his instructions to the woman, and he turned and went off on the camel homeward. And after that Ishmael came from the chase he and his mother, and returned to the tent, and his wife spoke these words to him, A very old man from the land of the Philistines came to seek thee, and thus was his appearance and figure; I did not ask him who he was, and seeing thou wast not at home he said to me, When thy husband cometh home tell him, thus saith the old man, Put away the nail of the tent which thou hast placed here and place another nail in its stead. And Ishmael heard the words of his wife, and he knew that it was his father, and that his wife did not honor him. And Ishmael understood his father's words that he had spoken to his wife, and Ishmael hearkened to the voice of his father, and Ishmael cast off that woman and she went away. And Ishmael afterward went to the land of Canaan, and he took another wife and he brought her to his tent to the place where he then dwelt. And at the end of three years Abraham said, I will go again and see Ishmael my son, for I have not seen him for a long time. And he rode upon his camel and went to the wilderness, and he reached the tent of Ishmael about noon. And he asked after Ishmael, and his wife came out of the tent and she said, He is not here my lord, for he has gone to hunt in the fields, and to feed the camels, and the woman said to Abraham, Turn in my lord into the tent, and eat a morsel of bread, for thy soul must be wearied on account of the journey. And Abraham said to her, I will not stop for I am in haste to continue my journey, but give me a little water to drink, for I have thirst; and the woman hastened and ran into the tent and she brought out water and bread to Abraham, which she placed before him and she urged him to eat, and he ate and drank and his heart was comforted and he blessed his son Ishmael. And he finished his meal and he blessed the Lord, and he said to Ishmael's wife, When Ishmael cometh home say these words to him, A very old man from the land of the Philistines came hither and asked after thee, and thou wast not here; and I brought him out bread and water and he ate and drank and his heart was comforted. And he spoke these words to me: When Ishmael thy husband cometh home, say unto him, The nail of the tent which thou hast is very good, do not put it away from the tent. And Abraham finished commanding the woman, and he rode off to his home to the land of the Philistines; and when Ishmael came to his tent his wife went forth to meet him with joy and a cheerful heart. And she said to him, An old man came here from the land of the Philistines and thus was his appearance, and he asked after thee and thou wast not here, so I brought out bread and water, and he ate and drank and his heart was comforted  And he spoke these words to me, When Ishmael thy husband cometh home say to him, The nail of the tent which thou hast is very good, do not put it away from the tent And Ishmael knew that it was his father, and that his wife had honored him, and the Lord blessed Ishmael.”

It is my dream and desire that the two sons of Abraham can come and fellowship in peace once again seeing as we have the same father. That, instead of burying Abraham, we can bury “the hatchet” and fellowship in such away that we, “Agree to disagree agreeably.”

Gen. 25:7-10 “And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.” (KJV)

Jasher 26:29 “And it was at that time that Abraham died, in the fifteenth year of the life of Jacob and Esau, the sons of Isaac, and all the days of Abraham were one hundred and seventy-five years, and he died and was gathered to his people in good old age, old and satisfied with days, and Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him.”
 Shabbat Shalom and Shavuah Tov!
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

RaYBaSH’s Haftarah Hashings
Haftarah # 5 Chayei Sarah “Life of Sarah”
I Kings 1:1-31
By Yehudah ben Shomeyr

I Kings 1:17 “And she said unto him, My lord, thou swarest by the L-RD thy G-d unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne.
 30Even as I sware unto thee by the L-RD G-d of Israel, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead; even so will I certainly do this day.
 31Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the king, and said, Let my lord king David live for ever.” (KJV)

Just as the mantel of the Patriarchal headship and leadership of the Jewish faith and people was passed on to Abaraham to Yitzhak (Isaac), so in I Kings the mantel of Kingship over the Jewish people was passed down from David Ha Melek (King David) to Shlomo Ha Melek (King Solomon), for the preservation of the Torah and the seed, the Messiah that was to come.

Matthew 1:17 “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ (Messiah) are fourteen generations.” (KJV)

In both cases, the passing of Headship was ordained by ADONAI Himself. And nothing can stand in the way of that, not Ishmael, nor Adoniyah.
Shabbat Shalom and Shavuah Tov
--  Yehudah ben Shomeyr

RaYBaSH’s Brit Chadashah Connections
Parahsha # 5 Chayei Sarah “Life of Sarah”
Matt. 1:1-17
By: Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Matt. 1:1 “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah), the son of David, the son of Abraham.

6And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
 16And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus (Yeshua), who is called Christ (Messiah).
 17So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ (Messiah) are fourteen generations.” (KJV) (Parenthesis mine)

The Patriarchal mantel and Royal scepter of the head of the Jewish People has culminated in and rested upon the Messiah.
Not only the Patriarchal mantel and Royal Crown has been bestowed upon Messiah Yeshua, but he Breastplate of the Kohen (Priesthood) representing the head of the Jewish Faith has been passed onto Messiah Yeshua.

Heb. 5:4-10 “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ (Messiah) glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” (KJV) (Parenthesis mine)

Remember, as I have said many times before in past Parashot, the Melkezidekian Priesthood DOES NOT replace the Levitical Priesthood, it is simply a higher and older order of priesthood which in the Time to Come will work side by side and hand in hand.
Ishmael, Adoniyah, and not even Herod was able to stop this.
Shabbat Shalom and Shavuah Tov!
-- Rabbi Yehudah