Rabbi Bochner's Weekly Torah Commentary

This week we study Chayay Sarah, Genesis 23:1 - 25:18 and read the final triennial portion of 24:53 - 25:18. This portion describes the death and burial of Sarah, the finding of a wife for Isaac, Abraham's death, and Isaac and Ishmael reconciling to bury their father. The Midrash tells us that Sarah died in shock over the Akeidah and a vision of Abraham about to offer Isaac on the altar. The Torah text tells us that she lived a full and good life and died at the age of 127. As soon as Abraham has purchased the burial cave of Machpalah as a final resting place for Sarah, his immediate concern is to find a wife for Isaac and continue the family line. His servant Eliezer is sent to return to Abraham's birthplace to find a bride on the condition that she will return to the land of Israel/Canaan. This parshah offers the first brachah (blessing) found in the Torah. Eliezer prays: "Oh God, God of Abraham, please be with me today and grant kindness (chesed) to my master Abraham." (Bereshit 24:12) No sooner is he done making his
request when it is instantly granted and he meets Rebecca, an "extremely good looking woman" and a relative of Abraham! Our Torah reading today begins with Rebecca agreeing to return with Eliezer. While Isaac is meditating in the field, he looks up and sees her coming as she looks up and sees him. [cue the romantic music]. "Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and he married Rebecca, and she became his wife, and he loved her. Isaac was consoled for the loss of his mother." (Bereshit 24:67). A rare happy ending in a Torah portion. Shabbat Shalom! -Rabbi Shalom Bochner, Director of Life Long Learning