TORAH READING FOR SHABBAT 24 CHESHVAN 5782 SHMITAH October 29-30, 2021
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/chayei-sarah
Chayei Sarah [חַיֵּי שָׂרָה – The Life of Sarah] – Genesis 23:1−25:18
Sarah lived to be 127 years old – such was the span of Sarah’s life. – Genesis 23:1
- Abraham purchases the cave of Machpelah in order to bury his wife Sarah. (23:1-20)
- Abraham sends his servant to find a bride for Isaac. (24:1-9)
- Rebekah shows her kindness by offering to draw water for the servant’s camels at the well. (24:15-20)
- The servant meets Rebekah’s family and then takes Rebekah to Isaac, who marries her. (24:23-67)
- Abraham takes another wife, named Keturah. At the age of one hundred and seventy-five years, Abraham dies, and Isaac and Ishmael bury him in the cave of Machpelah. (25:1-11)
I Kings 1:1-31
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH – From My Jewish Learning
In this Torah portion, Sara dies at the age of 127. Abraham searches for a place to bury her and settles on Machpelah…. Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for Isaac. The servant meets Rebecca at a well, where she provides water for him and his camels. Abraham marries Keturah and has six more sons. He then dies at the age of 175. [The parsha ends with the genealogy of Ishmael’s descendants, the area where they lived, and his death near his kin at the age of 137.]
Like the Torah portion, the haftarah [I Kings 1:1-31] is concerned with succession, both on a personal level and on a national one. By seizing power and attempting to take over the kingdom for his own purposes, Adonijah showed himself to be an unfit candidate to be king. Like Isaac, Solomon received his father’s birthright despite not being the oldest son. And, just like Isaac, Solomon inherited a destiny that was only beginning to take shape. Before David took his post, Israel had only had one other king. The duties of a king and the path of a young nation, still without a Temple, were still being determined.
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
חיי שרה Chayei Sarah – Genesis 23:1-25:18
From Sarah to Rebekah by Yaira Amit, p.111
Parashat Chayei Sarah (“the life of Sarah”) opens with the death and burial of Sarah. It centers on the introduction of Rebekah as a wife to Isaac and concludes with the deaths of Abraham and of Ishmael. Within this framework, the Torah relates two incidents in detail: how Sarah’s death prompts Abraham’s purchase of a burial plot in the promised land; and how Rebekah agrees to leave her homeland and family in Aram-naharaim in order to marry Isaac.
With these two incidents, Abraham begins to realize the divine promises of land and progeny. It becomes evident that these divine promises are deeply connected to the lives of women, in particular to the matriarchs. To guarantee that Sarah has a permanent resting spot, Abraham purchases the cave of Machpelah. This purchase marks Abraham’s first concrete step toward realizing the divine promise of land, for he acquires legitimate title to the field containing the cave. Second, Abraham achieves his goal that Isaac marry a woman from the land of his birth when Rebekah emerges as a more-than-suitable wife for Isaac. Through that marriage to Isaac, the future of the patriarch’s family will be assured and, by extension, the covenant with God will be renewed.
The longest unit in the parashah, Genesis 24, is devoted to what has been called the Courting of Rebekah. It introduces Rebekah as an energetic young woman who, like Abraham (Genesis 12), embarks on a journey to a distant land.
The closing unit accentuates Isaac’s special standing. Abraham sends away the sons who were born to him through his subsequent wife, Keturah, and through the concubines he had taken 25:1-6). Isaac thus remains his sole heir. This accords both with God’s promise that “My covenant I will maintain with Isaac” (Genesis 17:21) and with Sarah’s demand that Ishmael (and presumably other of Abraham’s sons) not inherit with her son, Isaac (21:10). This separation from Ishmael highlights the continuing question of identity formation in relation to other peoples.
ANOTHER VIEW by Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, p.127
Isaac’s love for Rebekah (24:67) is the first mention of spousal love in the Bible. Like other Near Eastern sources, the Bible shows a concern with preserving family possessions, both tangible (land) and intangible (blessings and identity). Arranged marriages serve this purpose. Love, however, is also mentioned as a motive for marriage: Jacob loves Rachel (Genesis 29:30), and Michal loves David (1 Samuel 18:20). With Isaac, love follows rather than precedes marriage. We do not know whether Rebekah loves Isaac. Reports of a woman’s love for a man are rare, found only with Princess Michal (1 Samuel 18:20 and 48) and in sensual terms in Song of Songs (see, for example, 1:7).[*]
The Bible is largely silent about marriage procedures. In fact, Genesis 24 remains the most detailed biblical source on this subject. The customs it describes largely correspond to information from ancient Mesopotamian texts. According to both sources, parents usually arrange the marriage (as when Shechem’s father negotiates a marriage with Dinah in Genesis 34, or when Samson asks his father and mother to get him a wife in Judges 14:2-3). Brothers sometimes act in this role (see Laban in Genesis 24). The groom or his family brings gifts for the bride’s family. In the Bible these gifts are called mohar, a term without the misleading commercial overtones of its usual English translation as “bride-price.” The servant’s gifts in Genesis 24 may represent the mohar. In some Babylonian documents, the bride’s father also gives gifts. (See Women in Ancient Israel–An Overview, p. xli.)
Genesis 24 emphasizes Rebekah’s role in the marriage negotiations. The servant bestows expensive gifts mostly on Rebekah herself (“objects of silver and gold, and garments”), with only some for her brother and mother (24:53; note the silence about the father). Moreover, she chooses when to go to her husband (24:55-58). In contrast, the groom, Isaac, plays no role in the arrangements. These details emphasize the union of Rebekah and Isaac as one in which the woman is assertive and the man compliant. This depiction sets the stage for Rebekah’s prominence in subsequent episodes (25:22-23, 28; 27:1-28:5).
[*p.124 re 24:67…Men’s love appears more frequently, as for example Jacob’s love for Rachel (Genesis 29:18), Shechem’s love of Dinah (34:3), and Jonathan’s love for David (I Samuel 18:1, 3). In many of those cases, as in ours, the use of the verb “love” implies a sexual relationship.]
From Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, 24 Cheshvan through 1 Kislev, we lovingly remember:
Julius (Archie) Zalla
TKH Memorial Board
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
Al sh’loshah d’varim ha’olam omëd – The world is sustained by three things: Torah, worship and loving deeds. We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this Friday evening, October 29, 2021.
Zoom continues being updated for security and performance features. In some cases, there are extra steps to go through in order to join a meeting. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this Friday evening:
Topic: Torah Study – Triennial reading Genesis 24:53-25:18
Time: Oct 29, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Oct 29, 2021 07:30 PM Arizona
To join the Torah Study and/or Shazoom Meeting click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]:
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat,