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Parshat Chayeh Sarah

PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
ROSH YESHIVA
IN
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL.

AND

MY DEAR MOTHER
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL


Menachim Z. Shimanowitz

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PARSHA
FACTS

NO MITZVOT IN THIS PARSHA
Although none of the Taryag (613) mitzvot are counted from Chayeh Sarah , we learn about burial of the dead, and funeral practices such as eulogizing the dead. We also find lessons relating to marriage in this Parsha.

NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES): 105

NUMBER OF WORDS: 1402

NUMBER OF LETTERS: 5314

HAFTORA: (Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha)
Melachim l / Kings I 1:1-31


פרשת חיי שרה
THE
PARSHA
In our last episode Hashem came through with His promise to give Avrohom and Sarah an heir. But 40 years later, Avrohom is given a "heir-raising" test of faith. He is ordered to sacrifice Yitzchok. Just as Avrohom was about to drop the knife, a Malach (Angel) came along and stopped the chop just in time.

As our Parsha opens, Avrohom has just returned home to his tent in Be'er Sheva. Sarah is not home. It seems that she got wind of the sacrificial road trip and headed out to Chevron to witness the fate of her beloved son. When she found out that Hashem nixed the sacrifice, she was so happy that she died!

SARAH DIES

Well, the Torah tells us that Sarah died at the age of 127. She has been a righteous woman all her life and changed the lives of thousands of people who passed through the four entrances of the tent. During her lifetime the cloud of glory found a favorite resting spot over her tent. On Erev Shabbat she would light candles which would burn through the entire week until the next Erev Shabbat. In her merit there has always been plenty of bread to feed her family and her guests. Now this righteous woman's life has come to an end and Avrohom must make a funeral fit for a queen.

THE
MACHPELAH
CAVE

The Machpelah cave is where Adam and Chava are buried, and Avrohom knows that all three Avot (forefathers) and three Imahot are destined to be buried there. This will be the perfect place to bury Sarah. There's just one problem... the cave is located in a field owned by a man named Efron, the son of Tzochar. Avrohom realizes that he has to buy the cave and the field from its present owner.

The Machpelah cave is located on the outskirts of Chevron where the B'nei Chait live. Avrohom figures that if he asks for permission to buy the cave from the tribal leaders first, he will have an easier time when he approaches Efron. So he sets up a meeting at city hall. Little does Avrohom realize that his legendary victory over the five kings has made him a folk hero in these parts. The Elders of Chait offer full cooperation. So, as quickly as he's come, he heads back out to Efron's place!

Now Efron, the owner of the cave offers to give Avrohom the property free of charge. But Avrohom resists the offer and insists upon paying for the property. In that case, Efron is willing to take the cash. "Name your price," Avrohom says. Without hesitation, Efron blurts out "Four hundred shekels"

That's a hefty sum of cash, especially for a guy who was supposedly willing to transfer the ownership for free a minute ago. But Avrohom doesn't flinch. He knows that there must be no question about the ownership of the cave if Sarah is to be buried there. Avrohom hands over the huge bundle of cash and closes the deal with a public ceremony. All the towns-people are invited to witness the transaction.

Now that there is no question as to who owns the cave, Avrohom turns to the proper burial of his beloved wife, Sarah. All of the nobles and important people of the day come to pay their respects to Sarah.

Throughout our history the Meorat HaMachpelah (Machpelah Cave) has remained one of our holiest sites. Adam and Chava, Avrohom and Sarah, Yitzchok and Rivka, Yaakov and Leah are buried inside this cave. To this day, this Parsha is proof that the Jewish people are the true owners of the Meorat HaMachpelah in Chevron. Are you listening, World????


MATCHMAKER,
MATCHMAKER,
CATCH ME
A CATCH

Avrohom is an old man of 137. Having fulfilled his duty with the burial of his wife, he turns to his son, Yitzchok once again. Yitzchok is no small fry, you know - he's a man of 40! It is time for Yitzchok to get married! So Avrohom calls upon his servant Eliezer to find Yitzchok a wife. This is no simple task. The local ladies of Canaan just won't do. They've had a curse attached to them since Noach's wine incident! So Avrohom sends Eliezer to Charan, Avrohom's home country, where he might find a girl with a better upbringing. With any mazal, Eliezer will find a woman from Avrohom's own family to marry Yitzchok. Eliezer heads out for Charan with a caravan of ten camels bearing gifts for the lucky lady of choice. He also has a letter from Avrohom guaranteeing him that Yitzchok will inherit all of his father's possessions. (What Shvigger (mother-in-law) would turn down a chance at that!)

The trip to Charan usually takes 17 days. But Hashem sweeps Eliezer along the super-shidach highway and gets him there in only three hours, before the dangers of nightfall set in. Eliezer finds himself parked by a well right outside of Charan. This is where the daughters of the townspeople draw water in the early evening. Eliezer is sure that if the right girl for Yitzchok is out there, she will be out here by the well tonight.

But how will Eliezer know which girl is the one? He devises a little test. In a prayer to Hashem, Eliezer decides that since Yitzchok needs a generous Chesedike meidel, (charitable girl), whichever girl offers him and his camels a drink will be the one. What's so tough about that test, you may ask. Well, did you ever see how much water a camel can drink? (And I hear that Eliezer was pretty thirsty too!)

Rivka & Eliezer Hashem goes for the plan full force. On the first shot Eliezer hits paydirt! Of all girls to come to this well, he bumps into Rivka. Eliezer puts the plan into action. "Excuse me, young lady, can I have a sip of water from your jug?" he asks. "Not only can you have a sip, but I will water all ten of your camels too!," she replies. Yahtzee! Rivka said the magic words!

Eliezer whips out a gold nose ring and two gold bracelets, each weighing ten gold shekel. He gives these expensive gifts to Rivka and asks her who she is and whether there's room in the house for a guest. Rivka reveals that she is the daughter of Besuel. BINGO! Besuel is Avrohom's nephew, his brother Nachor's son. Rivka offers Eliezer and his camels a place to stay. Eliezer thanks Hashem for the quick fix, and off they go to Rivka's house.


BESUEL
AND
LAVAN

Rivka runs ahead to tell her mother about Eliezer. Now, even though Rivka has displayed great kindness, she comes from a family of idol worshippers. Lavan, her bratty brother eagerly checks out the goods on Rivka's arms and nose. Once he is satisfied that the goods are as good as gold, he quickly turns the house into a kosher "Best Western." Before you know it, all the idols are packed away and Lavan's out on the street, running to greet Eliezer. Lavan figures that if this is what Eliezer pays for water, imagine what he'll pay for bed and breakfast!

Eliezer sits down at the table with the family. Rivka's father, Besuel, serves Eliezer a plate of food. But before Eliezer will eat, he must feed the camels and complete his mission. Eliezer explains to the family that he's here to make a shidduch for Avrohom's son, Yitzchok. He describes his miraculous one day trip, the test that he devised and Hashem executed, and the fact that Avrohom will leave all his wealth to Yitzchok - and there's a lot of it! So? Do we have a deal? Before Rivka's parents have a chance to think about it, Lavan blurts out "It's a done deal."

On that point, you might as well know that the food placed before Eliezer was poisoned. It seems Besuel has a few tricks up his own sleeve. Luckily, Eliezer has his priorities straight and while he finishes business, a Malach switches Eliezer's plate with Besuel's plate. That night Besuel dies from his own poison plot and Lavan is left to finish off the wedding plans.

Yitzchok Praying The next morning Eliezer insists upon leaving with Rivka. They set off together for Canaan, and once again, Hashem makes the 17 day journey a three hour trip. When they come to Avrohom's town, they see Yitzchok saying his afternoon (Mincha) prayers out in his favorite field. Rivka is impressed by this great tzadik. She is even more impressed when she finds out that this is the man she will marry.

Candles Yitzchok brings Rivka into his mother Sarah's tent. This dwelling has been empty since her death. Remember the candles that stayed lit from Erev Shabbat to Erev Shabbat? Well, Rivka's greatness keeps those candles burning all week long once again! In Rivka's honor, Hashem's cloud hangs over the tent. There is always plenty of food in the home of Rivka and Yitzchok.


AVRAHAM
DIES A
HAPPY MAN


For a fact filled sheet
'ALL ABOUT AVROHOM'
CLICK HERE

Now that Yitzchok is married off, Hashem advises Avrohom to marry again. The Torah calls his new wife Ketura, but Chazal (our sages) tell us that she is actually Hagar. Yes, Hagar is back and she's done tshuva! Avrohom and Ketura have six sons named Zimran, Yakshan, Medan, Midyan, Yishbak and Shuach. Unfortunately, these offspring are a bust! They all end up worshipping idols and Avrohom is forced to send them away from his house. Yitzchok will inherit the entire "kit-and-kaboodle" of Avrohom's estate. As for Yishmael, he turns out to be a pretty good son after all! He does tshuva during Avrohom's lifetime making Avrohom a very happy man.

When Avrohom dies at the age of 175, Yitzchok and Yishmael team up to bury him in Meorat Hamachpelah, right by Sarah's side. Avrohom is known as "the father of many nations." He is also the first of three forefathers of the Jewish people. During Avrohom's lifetime he was tested by Hashem ten times. Of course, he passed each test with flying colors. Even though the Torah would not be given for another 400 years, Avrohom knew all the mitzvot and kept every one of them. His great kindness is a lesson to all, and it is taught that the actions of the Avot are a sign for future generations. When we study the life of Avrohom we are learning about the destiny of the Jewish nation.

Tune in next week when Yitzchok and Rivka start a little family of their own. It's double trouble in the next exciting episode of:

Parsha on Parade

Midrash Maven
See the Midrash Maven on Chayeh Sarah


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