From The Rabbi’s Study…Shabbat, October 29, 2021/23 Cheshvan 5782
Torah: Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18) Haftarah ( I Kings 1:1-31)
The Death and burial of Sarah in the Cave of Machpelah. Abraham sends his servant Eliezer in search of a wife for Issac. Eliezer prays to G-d for assistance in his search. Eliezer finds Rebekah, whom Issac chooses to be his wife. Death of Abraham, who is buried next to Sarah in the Cave of Machpelah. The list of descendants of Ishmael.
There are many key concepts and values in this Torah parachute (portions). The obligation to bury one’s dead, the love for one’s people and marrying within the faith, prevention of cruelty to animals, meditation, prayer and reflection, but some notable mitzvot are of being kind to animals and honoring the dead and comforting the mourners.
Even though the Parsha is the “Death of Sarah” it is really her life that one reads. The opening verse, “And the life of Sarah was a hundred and seven and twenty years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. Since the “and” was fingered in between each word of the year the rabbis comment: “She was as handsome at one hundred as the age of twenty;and as sinless at twenty as at seven.” One gets to know what a woman Sarah must have been, how loved and knowledgeable she was.
The reason for finding a wife for Isaac. Isaac will become the leader of the Jewish people and his father, Abraham wanted to insure that the Jewish faith will continue. Eliezer was an amazing figure that was entrusted with finding a wife for Isaac by finding a woman with qualities akin to Sarah. So, he prays for -d to help him with this important task. Isaac went into the fields to meditate (Genesis 24:63). Our rabbis tells us that Issac was not merely meditating and communing with nature, but engaging in prayer, for he had instituted the tradition of the Minchah afternoon service prayer service (Talmud Berachot 25a). The afternoon prayer is the shortest of the three daily prayer services. Often popularly called, “the pause that refreshes,” it is in the middle of the day that affords the worshipper an additional opportunity to cultivate a genuine appreciation of the true blessings of life.
Since we are still feeling the effects of the Covid virus, the afternoon walks are a perfect time to meditate, reflect on the world around each of us, the blessings each of us have, and say a few prayers (it couldn’t hurt/ say with a Yiddush accent).
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder
Kerutah/ Let us learn together
The Candelabra (menorah) is any light sculpture, however one does not use a seven branch one for Hanukkah. The seven branch menorah was in the Holy Temple. The “Festival of Lights” known as Hanukkah has eight candles with one helper candle menorah called a “hanukkiah”. Why eight and one candle? The little jar of pure oil that was found in the Holy Temple should have lasted ONLY ONE DAY, however it lasted EIGHT DAYS! A Nes (miracle).
Why is the holiday called, “The Festival of Lights”? It came as a bolt of light on a night that had no moon to the Jewish people that they could fight for their religious freedom!
It is a festival because it commemorates a military victory. The reason people love the holiday is because Jews can worship their G-d and study Torah!
By the way this holiday has NOTHING TO DO WITH CHRISTMAS!
Do Jews give Gifts? Next Kerutah!