Torah: Chayyei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18) Haftarah: (I Kings 1-31)
An Overview of the Torah portion:
The death and burial of Sarah in the Cave of Machpelah. Abraham sends his servant Eliezer in search of a wife for Isaac. Eliezer prays to G-d for assistance in his search. Eliezer finds Rebekah, whom Isaac chooses to be his wife. Death of Abraham, who is buried next to Sarah in the cave of Machpelah. There is a list of the descendants of Ishmael.
One of the first references to prayer in the Torah is the spontaneous prayer of Eliezer, who says, “O g-d, the G-d of my master Abraham, send me, I pray You, good speed this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham” (Genesis 24:12). The important emphasis of this prayer is the cantillation note called Shashelet is placed over the Hebrew word Vayomar (“and he said”). This musical note is considered one of the most dramatically melodic ones, appearing in just a few places in the entire Torah.
Why and when did Sarah die? Many rabbis believe she knew that Abraham was going to sacrifice their son, Isaac. Sarah died from the heartbreaking news. Why did Abraham send a servant to choose a wife for his son, Isaac? Eliezer was a trusted man and he actually prayed to Abraham’s G-d and not any of his gods to be successful. What is so important about the Cave Machpelah? Abraham purchased it! The patriarchs and matriarchs (except Rachel), and Joseph are buried in the Cave of Machpelah.
Why do Jews pray three times a day? I will tell you why in the afternoon, since it was Isaac that went into the field to meditate. (Genesis 24:63) Our rabbis tell us that he was engaging in prayer with meditation and communing with nature. This is the Mincha afternoon prayer service (Talmud Berachot 25a). This is our shortest daily service or the pause of the day to refresh ourselves. Another opportunity to worship and genuinely appreciate our true blessings of life.
The war in Israel is now over a month. Please kindly add an extra Shabbat candle for extra blessings for Israel.
Shabbat SHalom v’ Am Ysrael Chai,
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder