(23:1) “Vayiyu Chaye Sarah- And Sarah lived.” The word “Vayiyu” equals 37 in gematria This was the age of Yitzchok at the time of Sarah's death. This is an allusion to the life of Sarah. That the years she lived were the years of her motherhood.
(23:1) “Vayiyu Chaye Sarah- And Sarah lived.” In Gematria equals 570 the same numerical value as “Achuzas Olam-An eternal inheritance.” The essence of Sarah’s life was building an eternal inheritance not only for her self but for Klal Yisroel.
(23:1) “Shinei Chaye Sarah- The years of Sarah’s life” In Gematria equals “Kol Eish Yisroel-Every man of Israel.” As the first matriarch of Yisroel her years truly were the equivalent to every man of Yisroel.
(23:1) “Vayiyu Chaye Sarah Meyah Shoneh V'Esrim Shoneh V'Shevah Shonim-And Sarah lived one hundred years twenty years and seven years.” Sarah lived 127 years. Originally she was to have lived as long as Avraham. But 48 years were removed from her life because of the laughter she displayed at the news of her impending pregnancy. According to one version in the Talmud, Avraham was 48 years old when he first recognized Hashem. It would then come out that both Avraham and Sarah really lived 127 years in the shadow of Hashem.
But there is a deeper idea being conveyed here. Sarah’s entire life was separating the good from the evil, the light from the darkness. This is why her tent remained lit from one Shabbos to the next. She was in a state of Shabbos all week long. She was the one who told Avraham to expel Yishmael, to separate the light from the darkness. If we take the numerical value of the word light “Ohr” it equals 207 while the word for darkness Choshech equals 334. The difference between the two is 127. Sarah’s entire life was separating the light from the darkness. This is why her eulogy consisted of proclaiming, as Rashi says, all of her years were equally good.
Sarah died in the year 2085. According to the Goan of Vilna for each year of history there is a corresponding verse in the Torah and if we look at that verse we can find a correlation to the major events of that year. The 2085th verse in the Torah is in Parshas Mishpatim (21:10) which reads “ Im Acheres Yikach Lo Shearah Kisus V’Anasah Lo Yigerah- If he shall take another in addition to her, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital relations.”One of the most selfless acts that Sarah had done in her lifetime was to allow Avraham to take Hagar as a wife. She was willing to give up her honor for the sake of building Klal Yisroel. This is what this verse alludes to.
Although the parsha is named “Chaye Sarah - The life of Sarah” there is little of her life mentioned here. Rather it speaks of her death. But “The life of Sarah” is really the legacy she left behind. This is what this parsha deals with. Her offspring Yitzchok and her replacement Rivka.
Sarah was the first person of the Jewish faith to die. In last weeks parsha we had the Akeida during which we had the first case of Techias Hamaisim. The seforim write that Yitzchok was originally born with a neshama of a woman and was unable to have children. At the Akeida his soul left him and he received the neshama of a man able to have children. So in effect this was the first case of Techias Hamaisim. Hashem wanted to institute this before the first death in Klal Yisroel. Hashem always establishes the cure before he brings the disease.
(23:2) “Vayovo Avraham Lispod L’Sarah Ulivkosa-And Avraham came to eulogize Sarah and to mourn her.” The word Livkosa is spelled with a small kuf. There are many commentaries that explain the reason for this. One answer is that since the Satan was sent a tremendous blow after Avraham was successful at the Akeida, he wished to nullify this tremendous victory by making Avraham regret the fact that he went through this trial. The Satan went to Sarah and told her of Yitzchok's near death. This caused her soul to depart. Since a person who regrets a mitzvah doesn't receive the S'char (merit) for the mitzvah, the Satan would have been able to negate this tremendous accomplishment achieved at the Akeida. That's why there is a small letter kuf in the word Livkosa. Avraham mourned just enough to retain his S'char.(Baal Haturim)
Another opinion is that the Akeidah took place on Yom Kippur and since it says (22:4) “Bayom Hashelishe Vayisa Avraham es-Aynav Vayar es-Hamokom Meyrachok-On the third day Avraham lifted his eyes and saw the place from afar” we know that it took three days to return to Sarah. He therefore traveled on the 11th, 12th and 13th days of Tishrei, so Sarah’s funeral took place Erev Sukkos. Since he was only able to mourn one day there is a small letter kuf in the word Livkosa.
Another opinion is that the small “Kuf” indicates that the letter is removed leaving the word to be read as “Bayis”. The meaning would then be referring to the three blessings that were on Avraham and Sarah's house were no longer present. The light (Ner) the cloud of the Shecina and the Challah.
Still others maintain that Sarah lived a complete life and that her dying upon receiving the news of the Akeida was that now her life was complete. She could leave this world with the knowledge that her son was a perfect sacrifice accepted by Hashem.
(23:2) “Vayovo Avraham Lispod Lesarah Ulivkosa- And Avraham came to eulogize Sarah and to mourn her.” The order of the words is out of place. It should have read “Avraham came to eulogize and mourn Sarah.” Why is Sarah’s name placed in the middle? Also the order seems reversed. First comes crying then comes the eulogy. One answer given is that Avraham had just come from the success of the Akeidah and was on a tremendous high. He therefore needed the eulogy to motivate the tears. The Kli Yakar asks these questions and says that the gemarrah in Sanhedrin (22a) says that a person who loses his first wife is as if he witnesses the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh. Avraham knew that Sarah was going to a far better place. So his tears are not for her but rather for the loss that the world would have to bare. He therefore began with the eulogy to bring out the many merits of Sarah that would now be lost. The tears then would be for the Beis Hamikdosh. Why then is there a small kuf in the word Livkosa? The gemarrah says that the Beis Hamikdosh was originally 100 amos high. After the destruction it was minimized. The letter kuf when spelled out is kuf-phey which equals one hundred. This is the remez in the word Livkosa to the height of the Beis Hamikdosh.
Why was Sarah's life destined to end in such a tragic way? One answer given by the Chasam Sofer is that she was repaid for the laughter she portrayed at the announcement of Yitzchok's birth. This was Midah Keneged Midah since at first she heard good news from a Malach and didn't believe it. Now she heard bad news from a Malach and believed it. The Midrash says that since she had the Shechina on her mind at all times with such tremendous intensity, the Satan was unable to carry out his mission. He therefore contrived this plan to shock Sarah for a moment, just long enough to fulfill his task.
On a more positive note we learned in Parshas Vayereh that when Avraham and Yitzchok were going to the Akeida they told Eliezer and Yishmael to stay with the donkeys and that they would return to them. (22:5) “Venashuva Aleychem.” After this tremendous experience of coming close to Hashem they would still return to them ie. to the same way they were before the Akeida. Even though they should have felt very big about themselves for having succeeded at such a tremendous trial, still they would return to the way they were. Sarah on the other hand experienced this tremendous closeness to the Shechina upon hearing the news of the Akeida, that her Neshama remained with Hashem and had no desire to return.
(23:2) “Vayovo Avraham Lispod Lesarah Ulivkosa- And Avraham came to eulogize Sarah and to mourn her.” The question that arises from this posuk is where was Yitzchok? There is no mentioning of his participation in the burial of his mother? And if you attempt to answer that perhaps it would seem obvious that he was there and therefore there is no need to mention his name, why then is his name mentioned at the end of the Parsha in connection with the burial of Avraham? It must be that the reason his name is omitted is because he was not there. We learned that Yitzchok was 37 years old at the time of the Akeida from the fact that Sarah was 127 years old when she died. And since she gave birth to him at 90 and died upon hearing the news of the Akeida, Yitzchok must therefore have been 37. Now we also know that he married at 40 and had children at 60. Avraham was 100 years old when he fathered Yitzchok, therefore he must have been 160 when Essav was born. The Torah tells us that he died five years before his time, at the age of 175 in order not to see Esav turn bad. Esav turned bad when he was 13 years old which should have made Avraham 173 not 175? What happened to those two years? The last question is from a Rashi in this week’s parsha (23:2) that asks why the death of Sarah is juxtaposed with the Akeida? He writes that when Sarah heard the news of the Akeida, “Ukimat Shelo Nishchat-And that he was almost NOT sacrificed” her soul flew from her. This implies that the sacrifice did take place! Throughout the entire narrative of the Akeida the Torah mentions how Avraham and Yitzchok were together. Avraham even promises that he and the boy will return. But once the Akeida is over we only find Avraham returning. Yitzchok is no where to be found!
To answer these questions Rabbi Aba Wagenberg suggests based on the Zohar, we must go back to the Akeida. (22:11) “Vayikra Aylav Malach Hashem-And an Angel of Hashem called to him. It says there that a Malach of Hashem came down to prevent Avraham from killing his son. Soon after, the posuk says (22:15) “Vayikra Malach Hashem el Avraham Sheinis-And an Angel of Hashem called to Avraham a second time.” This time he uses the phrase “I swear by the word of Hashem” to emphasize his words. Now it would seem that if he wanted to prevent Avraham from obeying Hashem’s decree to sacrifice his son, he would need to use the phrase “I swear by the word of Hashem” in the first communication not the second. Who was this first Malach? He was none other than the Soton. All along the Midrash tells us how he attempted to prevent Avraham from going through with this test. Now as it is nearing completion we find that he makes one last attempt. He tells Avraham not to go through with the sacrifice. But Avraham does not listen to him. He heard the command directly from Hashem. Only the the word of Hashem can retract that command. He therefore goes on with the sacrifice and slaughters his son Yitzchak. This answers the first question as to why Yizchok did not attend his mother’s funeral. He was dead! According to the Yalkut Reuveiny the reason Yitzchok was not there was because Avraham severed the two signs in Yitzchok’s neck and Angels came down to carry him up to Gan Eden to heal him. The second question is answered as well. Yitzchok spent two years in Gan Eden following the Akeida. When he returned he was the same age as when he left. Everyone else did age two years. Therefore Avraham was 175 when he died. With this we can explain the second communication from the Malach at the Akeida. There he promises with the word of Hashem that Avraham will have as many children as the stars in the sky. Why repeat this promise now? He was already promised this by the Bris bein Habisarim why repeat it? Because now that Yizchok is dead he needs to be reassured that he will be reincarnated after two years have passed. So for two years Avraham kept his faith, never regretting his actions.
(23:3) “Vayokom Avraham Ma'al Penei Maiso-Avraham rose from before his dead.” The posuk uses the word Penei in reference to the deceased Sarah. Really this word would seem to be extra? But in regard to those who were permitted to be buried in the Moros Hamachpela it is said that only those whose death came about through Neshika (death by divine kiss) were allowed to be buried there. When the Malach Hamoves takes someone's life there is a certain appearance that becomes evident in their face. That is why the posuk here says that “Avraham rose from the face of his dead.” He was able to tell from Sarah's face that she could be buried in the Moros Hamachpela.
The Moros Hamachpela is named this way for several reasons. One is because of the couples that are buried there. (Adam and Chava, Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchok and Rivka, Yakov and Leah). Another reason given is that since Adam was so large he had to be doubled over in order to fit there. Hashem created Adam and we know that all of the Neshamas that come in to this world stem from him. The seforim say that the neshamas relate to the different parts of the body of Adam and that earlier souls came from the head while later generations come from the lower parts of his body. This could be why the days of Moshiach are called Eikvas D'moshiach from the word Eikev meaning heel. The heel being the farthest thing from the head also would explain these generations being far from Hashem. But yet we see that in our times there are many people learning Torah and giving Tzidaka. We have the benefit of the accumulative schar (merit) of the previous generations. The six million sacrifices of the Holocaust have in some way enabled us to withstand the impurity of our times. There could also be a correlation between this and the doubling over of Adam. When doubled over the head is adjacent to the heel.
(23:4)”V’ekboroh Maisy M’lifonaye-And I will bury my dead from before you.” It says the words “Kivor Maisecha” (Bury the Dead) four times in this chapter regarding the burial of Sarah and one time it reverses the words and says the Maischa Kivor (dead bury). This is meant to be an allusion to the four couples destined to be buried there. The fifth is an allusion to Esav's head. It's also alluded to in the initial letters of the phrase Vayokom Sedey Ephron (23:17) each of the first letters make the name Esav. (Roshei Teves) As in Rosh (head) which was the only part of Esav that was buried there.
(23:19) "Kvor es Sarah" The extra word "Es" comes to include Chava. When Sarah was buried, Chava wanted to leave the Moros Hmachpeleh because she was embarrassed to be in the presence of the righteous Sarah. Avraham had to assure her and place her back in the proper place in the cave. This could be why the trees are included in the purchase of the field. The "Tree" that could determine Tov V'Rah.
There is a constant theme of double in this parsha. First the words Shnei Chaiye Sarah literally means the two lives of Sarah. We have the story of Eliezer repeated twice, when Yitzchok was coming back from the fields he had just finished implementing the Mincha prayer, which is the second tefilah and by the drawing of the water it’s double. Water for Eliezer and for the camels. Plus many other examples of double in the parsha. What does this mean?
Sarah was the tikun for Chava and the chet of the Eitz Hadas. Her life was a double life in that she lived in this world and on a certain level she lived for Olam Habo. It says regarding the curse of the Nochosh, “Al Gochoncha Teilech.” The initial letters of which are Ayin Gimmel Tuf. Ayin-Avodah, Gimmel-Gemilas Chasodim, Tuf-Torah. The three things that the world stands upon. Each of these are represented by the events that were doubled in this parsha. Avodah-when Yitzchok implemented the Mincha prayer, Gemilas Chasodim-by the extra effort to water the camels, Torah-by the repetition of the story of Eliezer.
When a person has difficulty with a certain aspect of his life and he is able to overcome it, it’s as if he is restoring that aspect to its original form before the chet of the Eitz Hadas. Before the chet there was Emes and Sheker. It was black and white. Man knew what was right and wrong. The temptation was on the outside of man. After the chet there was a mixture within. It was good and bad. What's good for one person is not always good for someone else. So when a person can reach a level where the temptation is so removed from himself that it’s like it’s no longer within but external, that there is no question about his doing that avera, that is like restoring the chet of the Eitz Hadas. This is what Sarah's life was. She was able to live her life as a perfect Tikun of everything. She was able to remove herself from the temptations of this world to such an extent that there was no question as to her falling. This could also explain why the parsha is called Chaye Sarah when in fact its speaking about the death of Sarah.
(22:20) “Vayihe Acharei Hadevorim Ha’eyleh-And it was after these events In this week’s Parshas, the Torah reports the story of Yitzchak and Rivka, the first Jewish Shidduch, who represent Hashem’s plan for the ultimate relationship between a man and a woman. At the very end of last week’s parsha, immediately after the Akeidah, the Torah tells us that it became known to Avraham that a child was born to his relative back in Charan. That child was Rivka. What is the significance of the Torah telling us this there? It should have been mentioned in this week’s parsha which deals with finding Yitzchak a Shidduch?
The Ohr Hachaim quoting the Zohar says that when Yitzchok was born, he originally had a Neshama of a female. He was therefore unable to have children. At the Akeidah the tremendous fear of that event caused his neshama to leave him and he received a new neshama, that of a male which now enabled him to father children. The neshama that he had was not lost. This is the meaning of those words of last week’s parsha “Vayihe Acharei Hadevorim Ha’eyleh-And it was after these events.” It was immediately after the Akeidah that it became known to Avraham that a child was born to his relative back in Charan. Perhaps we may suggest that child was Rivka, that Neshama was the one that Yitzchok lost. Just as the first woman was created from the flesh of the first man, so too, spiritually the first Jewish Shidduch was created from a shared soul. There are three hundred and seven words in the parsha of the Akeidah. The numerical value of the name Rivka equals 307. Hashem had orchestrated this entire event in order to realize His plan for the ultimate relationship between a man and a woman.
Seder Hadoros goes even further and says that Adam reincarnated into Avraham, and Chava into Sarah. After that, Chava reincarnated into Yitzchak (SederHaDoros,HaGah,q.v.Adam)
Thus, not only was Yitzchak a gilgul, but his soul came from a female, THE female, Chava herself. That explains, perhaps, why both mother and son died at precisely the same moment - Sarah upon seeing the Akeidah from the distance (Yalkut Reuveini), and Yitzchak because of it (Midrash HaGadol 22:12). Through Sarah and Yitzchak, the Akeidah was the tikun that Chava's soul needed before moving on. However, though Sarah did not return as herself, Yitzchak did, but this time with his OWN, male soul (Ohr HaChaim, 21:2), which is the sod of why the parshah turns to discuss the family of Rivkah immediately after the Akeidah. Now possessing his own soul, Yitzchak was ready to marry and begin a family of his own.
Why did Yitzchok begin life with the neshamah of a female? Perhaps we can say that since the first child born to two Jewish parents represented the tikun of Adom before the chet, he had to experience both sides. Just as Adom was originally both male and female, so too Yitzchak had to be both male and female. In verse 24:14 we are introduced to Rivka as “Ha Narah” and throughout the entire chapter the spelling of the word Narah is deficient, without the “Hey” at the end which could refer to a young boy. This would coincide well with the fact that Rivka’s neshama was originally from Yitzchok.
The entire parsha of the first shidduch in the Torah has 66 posukim. The numerical value equals M’Hashem-from Hashem. The entire episode was Bashert (preordained).
(24:1) “V'Hashem Bairach es Avraham Bakol And Hashem blessed Avraham with all.” Why is this brought in here just before the story of finding a wife for Yitzchok? We have learned that the Avos did all of the mitzvos of the Torah yet he had no daughter. According to those who say this can be fulfilled through grandchildren, this would then be the proper place to mention that Hashem was blessing Avraham with everything. Since through Yitzchok's marriage this would now be accomplished. But there is a Gemarra in Bava Bassra that says Avraham did have a daughter whose name was Bakol.
The Chasam Sofer writes that when you spell out the letters of Bakol it equals 586 the same numerical value as the word Shofar. From the ram that was substituted for Yitzchok two Shofars were made. One was blown at the giving of the Torah and one will be blown to herald the coming of Moshiach. To Klal Yisroel the Torah and Moshiach are everything. Avraham was blessed with a son who was the link to deliver everything to Klal Yisroel.
(24:3) “Lo Tikach Eisha L’venie M’bonos Hakenani Asher Anochi Yoshev B’kirbah-Do not take a wife for my son from the daughters of Canaan in who’s midst I dwell.” Why would the daughters of Avraham’s homeland be any better than the daughters of Canaan? Both were Idol worshipers? Also what is the meaning of the words “in who’s midst I dwell”? It seems to be redundant? The answer is that it is true that they were idolaters, nevertheless they had good Midos. The Canaanites were not only religiously corrupt, they were also basically selfish and unkind people as well. This is what Avraham points out by saying “in whose midst I dwell.” The problem with them was that “Anochi (“I”)” was always in their midst. They were self-centered and only into themselves. It may be true that members of Avraham’s family worshipped idols, but at least they were naturally compassionate people. (Droshos H’Ran)
- Frand asks the following question; Lavan and Besuel were hardly examples of fine midos? How can the Ra’n say they were naturally compassionate people? He says that R. Nissan Alpert addresses this question. Lavan and Besuel were in fact generous people. They had good genes the same genes as Avraham Avinu. The problem was they lived amongst idol worshipers and they lacked Avraham’s backbone to be able to stand up to the falsehood that they themselves knew to be false. Instead they went along with the crowd until they became the idol worshipers as well. This could be the reason why Rivka was taken away at such an early age to marry Yitzchok. She was only three years old and had not yet known a man (24:16). In other words she had not yet become influenced by her surroundings.
(24:21) “Veho'eish Mishtoei-And the man stood silently.” Eliezer stood silent waiting to see if Hashem was making his trip successful or not. How could this be when we just learned that Eliezer said to Hashem if she gives me to drink and offers drink for the camels then I'll know that she is the one? Right after that before he even finished speaking to Hashem, Rivka came and did exactly what he expected of her? How could he still be wondering if she is the one? Eliezer was waiting to see if all that Rivka had done was out of her true chesed or if perhaps she would ask him for some compensation for her efforts. If not, then he would know that she was the one.
(24:21) “Veho'eish Mishtoei-And the man was astonished.” The man was fascinated by her. Her appearance resembled that of Sarah, one of the most beautiful women of all time.
The Shelah writes that whenever the term Eved is used in describing Eliezer it refers to Eliezer. But when the term Eish is used it refers to the Malach that was sent along with him to insure the mission’s success. If that is the case what is the meaning of “Veho'eish Mishtoei-And the man was astonished.” What could he be wondering about? He explains that the Malach was able to look into the future at the two descendants destined to descend from this pairing, Yakov and Essav. He was pondering the future battle that these two would represent.
Why was it necessary for Eliezer to repeat the entire story of how he met Rivkah? And why did he change the order of things like the gifts being given before he knew she was related to Avraham?
It was necessary because one, Eliezer wanted them to see how the entire event was prearranged by Hashem so they would not interfere or try to stop the match. Also it was important for them to believe that the mission was to obtain a wife for Yitzchok from Avraham's family. If they knew he had given her gifts before knowing she was related that would undermine what he was saying till this point and they might have taken the gifts for themselves thinking they were not engagement gifts.
(24:22) “Vayikach Hoish Nezem Zahav-And the man took a golden ring.” The question asked by many commentators is how could he give her the gifts before he was sure that she was the one? The Ohr Hachaim writes that the reason Eliezer gave her the gold bracelets and ring was because Avraham had given these items to him as a test saying "the one whom these fit will be the right mate for my son." If they fit it would be a sign that she was the one destined for Yitzchok.
(24:39) “Vayomer el-Adony Oolaye Lo-Selech-I said to my master perhaps she won’t go.” In retelling the story of how Avraham sent him, Eliezer repeats what he told Avraham that “perhaps she won't wish to return with me.” He uses the word “ailaye” without a vav. Which could be read Oolaye (To me). Rashi says this is because he had a daughter he wished for Yitzchok to marry. The question is why is it not mentioned when it was originally said to Avraham instead of here when it is retold to Rivkah's family?
The Dubneh Magid gives a moshel. There was a businessman who would always send a messenger to pick up merchandise. Every so often he would also send payments for the merchandise. One time he said I'm not going to continue doing business with this supplier. I will send the messenger to make a large pickup but never pay for it. When the messenger asked how can you do this? He replied go anyway. After the messenger took the order he said to the supplier “I didn't think you would give us this much credit.” The supplier thought this was strange since he always extended credit in the past and decided not to ship the order. The same is true by Eliezer. He said maybe she won't wish to return with me. Why shouldn't she want to go back? He just finished telling us how rich his master is and what an honored family he's from? The answer is because Eliezer was trying to send a subliminal message so that they might not send Rivkah and his daughter could marry Yitzchok. That is why it's mentioned here by the retelling to Rivkah's family.
Another answer is that when Eliezer was in front of Avraham, he was totally subservient to his masters needs. This is why there is no mention of his name throughout this entire narrative. In front of Avraham he did not think of himself or his needs. On the other hand when he was in the presence of Besuel, the influence of a Rasha caused him to think differently. He then realized that he could be partial towards his daughter.
The Tur offers another explanation. Before Eliezer completed his mission he was considered one of the cursed Canaanites whom Avraham explicitly rejected as a candidate for his son. Now being on the brink of a successful mission and after he is called blessed of Hashem (24:31) he might assume that a daughter of his would be permissible to marry another blessed ie. Yitzchok.
How is it that Eliezer was transformed from a cursed to a blessed? To answer this we must go back to the original curse of Canaan. In parshas Noach we find that after the flood, Canaan saw his father drunk in his tent and went and told his brothers. He used his faculty of vision and his faculty of speech in an impure way. This was punished by cursing his descendants to a life of servitude. No longer would his speech be listened to. What he sees does not matter. This is why Avraham sent Eliezer on this mission instead of performing it himself. (24:1) “V’Avraham Zokein Bo Bayomim-Avraham was old he came with his days.” Why does this chapter begin by telling us Avraham was old? Because Chazal tell us the word zokein means “Zeh Shekona Chochmah-He who acquires knowledge.” Avraham had a plan to correct the previous generation through the mission of Eliezer. We are told after the Akeidah that Avraham was informed about the birth of Rivka. He knew who Yitzchak’s match would be. But he wanted to test Eliezer. He knew him to be the trusted elder of his home but how would he react when he is away, when he has a vested interest in his mission’s outcome? A person acts righteously when in the presence of a Tzaddik, but how does he behave when amongst the non-righteous? This was his test.
We find that there is no mention of Eliezer’s name in this parsha. He became totally subservient to his mission. We see that when Lavan ran out to see him the posuk says (24:30)“V’hinei Omeid Al Hagemalim Al Ho’ayin-Behold he was standing above the camel above the well.” It does not say he was standing “Eytzel”next to the camels, but above them. The Ohr Hachaim says that Eliezer was levitating in mid air. This was no magic trick. If we take the letters that are above (Al) the letters of “Hagemalim” and “Ho’ayin” we have 208 in gematria. which equals the name Yitzchak. He had so negated himself on this mission that he now was a part of the sender But 208 also is the value of the word B’dibur-with speech and the value of the word R’eyah- vision. This is how Avraham had a plan to correct the previous generation through the mission of Eliezer. He could now correct the Dibbur-speech and R’eyah-vision that caused Canaan to be cursed. Now Eliezer is referred to as “Ish.”.
When Eliezer finished retelling the events of his meeting Rivkah it say he gave gifts to her brother and mother. But there is no further mention of her father? The Midrash say's that her father Besuel died. When he had put poison in Eliezer's food a malach came and switched the plates.
The reason he deserved to die was because Besuel had a custom of taking any engaged girl for himself prior to their wedding. Now that his daughter was engaged the people of the area wanted to see what he would do with his own daughter. He was killed so as not to start a conflict.(Meam Loez)
It says when Eliezer gave Rivkah the presents the word “bekah” is used. This has the numerical value of 172 the same as the amount of letters in the Ten Commandments. The two bracelets are equivalent to the two Luchos the weight of them equals the ten commandments and the bekah was a half shekel like the half shekel mitzvah the Jews would later have. What are these allusions doing here? Eliezer saw in Rivkah the tremendous character of chesed she had. We learned that there are three things the world stands on. Torah, Avoda and Chesed. These other two characteristics were alluded to through the Ten Commandments/ Torah and the Bekah which when donated was used to build the Mizbeach. Since Rivkah was essential to the building of Klal Yisroel he wanted that there should be a Binyan Shalem. Through Torah, Avodah and Gimilus Chasadim.
R.Tzodik has a different approach to all of these events. These allusions to the Aseres Hadibros and the Luchos was due to the fact that this was the founding moments of the future recipients of the very Torah that created the world. The results of this pairing of souls would be the ones who would take upon themselves the rectification of the Chet of the Aeitz Hadas. So just as the original Kabolas Hatorah occurred twice, once by Har Sinai and once again on Yom Kippur, so too was the repetition of all these events. In light of this we can now understand some of the discrepancies between the first and second versions. By the first version Eliezer was speaking to Hashem praying for his mission to be a success he speaks aloud “Vayomer” (24:12) whereas in the second version (24:45) he say's “Lidabaer El Libi” speaking to my heart. He said it to himself. Similarly the first Luchos were given with tremendous fanfare with thunder and lightening. But regarding the second Luchos we find they were described as the most hidden of all things. Another difference in the two versions is the time when the gifts were given to Rivka. In the first version they were given before he ascertained whether she was from Avraham's family. While in the second Eliezer say's that he asked first? We can see how this relates to Klal Yisroel expressing the concept of Naseh Venishmah “We will do and then we will hear.” First the gifts and then we will hear where she is from. But by the second Luchos they were no longer at that lofty level. Here it was just hear first do later.
(24:53) “U’Migdonos Nosan L’Achiha U’L”Imama-And precious fruits he gave her brother and her mother.” What about her father? We don’t see him mentioned here? Eliezer knew that Besuel was going to die that night for trying to poison him. Therefore he gave no edibles to him so as not to be blamed.(Belze Rebbe)
(24:57) "Nikra L'naarah V'nishalah-Call to the child and ask her" How can they ask a three year old if she wants to marry a stranger? The only one who can give away a minor without permission is the father. Here since Besuel was dead, Rivka must be asked.
(24:58) “Vayomru Ayleha Hasaylchi Im-Ho’Eish Hazeh Vatomer Aylech-They said to her will you go with this man? She said I will go” When Rivkah was asked if she would go with Eliezer her reply was not a simple yes but rather “I will go.” Meaning if you give me permission or not I'm going.(Rashi) According to the Midrash there is another explanation of this. The Midrash says that when Eliezer sat down to eat with them, Rivka’s father tried to poison him. But a Malach came and switched his plate and he died instead. Rivka assumed that since her father died because he tried to stop the Shidduch, and now her brother and mother were taking over the negotiations, If they would try to interfere they too would die, leaving her an orphan. Therefore it would be in her best interest to go with him.
(24:59) “Vayishalchu es Rivka Achosem-And they sent away Rivka their sister.” (24:60) “Vayivorachu es Rivka Vayomeru Achoseinu at Heyeh L'alphey Rivavah-And they blessed Rivka and said our sister may you be the mother of thousands of ten thousands.” This phrase is used under the chupa. Why would we use a blessing from a Rasha? Besides, we learned that Rivka was barren for more than ten years so that no one would say that Lavan's blessing was fulfilled? Why is the plural used when it was just Lavan who had a sister? Lastly what was so terrible about Lavan's blessing? The Gemarrah in Bava Basra (110) writes that before someone marries they should check into the brides brother for that will indicate the character of the offspring. What Lavan was saying in essence was “May you have thousands of children just like me!” Therefore when Rivka was leaving she was escorted by the surrounding people. They called her our sister to intimate that her offspring should be like us not like Lavan. We in turn echo this sentiment as a blessing at a wedding.
(24:62) "V'yitzchok Bo M'bo Be'er Lachi Roi-Yitchok came from having gone to Be'er-Lachi-Roi." Rashi writes that he had gone there to bring back Hagar to be a wife for his father. Why bring back the woman who was cast out? It was said that she went back to her fathers ways, meaning idol worship? However she had changed thus the new name Keturah. This is hinted at by mentioning the place Be'er-Lachi-Roi. She had left her fathers ways and took up residence at the place where her prayers were originally answered. Yitzchok was praying that Eliezer's mission to bring back his future wife be successful. He wanted to correct any past sins. He felt that Hagar's expulsion was in some way caused by him. In this merit his own Shidduch might be successful.
(24:63) “ Vaytze Yitzchok L’suach Basodeh Lifnos Erev Vayisa Aynav Vayar V’Hinei Gemalim Boim-Yitzchak went out in the field to pray and raised his eyes and behold! Camels were coming.” Why is it important for us to know that he “raised his eyes and saw the camels approaching? Yitzchok just finished praying, with his eyes closed to concentrate, for the success of Eliezer’s mission. No sooner did he finish his prayers and open his eyes to see that they were answered.
(24:65) “Vatomer el-Hoeved Mi-Ho’Eish H’lozeh-She said who is that man?” When Rivkah returned with Eliezer she saw Yitzchok from a distance and she said who is that man “halozeh”. The word has the letters “hey lamed zayin hey.” The two middle letters equal 37 the age Yitzchok was at the time of the Akeidah and the two letters hey represent the letters added to his parents name.
Rivka fell off the camel but did not hit the ground. What does this mean? Rivka saw Yitzchok davening mincha. There was a glow surrounding him from the Shechina which was protecting him. When she was told this was Yitzchok she had a vision that Esav would descend from her and this caused her to fall from the camel. Hashem protected her from hitting the ground.
The fact that Yitzchok was returning from bringing a wife for his father is no coincidence. Yitzchok was at the crossroads of the beginnings of Klal Yisroel. Hashem first makes the cure before bringing the sickness. Since his descendants would become slaves in Egypt it was necessary for the one who will cause that, to be someone who was a slave to Sarah first. Therefore there could never really be any total dominance of Yisroel by someone who was originally subservient to them.
(24:67) “Vayivieha Yitzchok H’Ohela Sarah Imo Vayikach es-Rivka Vatihi-Lo L’Isha Vayehovehah-Yitzchok brought her into the tent of his mother, Sarah. He married Rivka, and she became his wife, and he loved her.”This was the exact order of events. It was only after he brought her into his mother’s tent and observed her actions were like his mother’s that he married her. In this the first Jewish marriage, the Torah illustrates the principal that has generally been followed by Jews. Jewish marriages are contracted not as a result of passion, which all too often does not withstand the test of time.
(25:18) “Al-Penei Kol-Echov Nofal- Over All His Brothers He Dwelt.” There is a Gemarrah that says there are three people who’s name preceded them. And some say four. They are Yitzchok, Shlomo Hamelech and King Yehoyoshu. And some say the fourth one is Yishmael. The question is how can they say maybe Yishmael when it says so openly in the Torah? (16:11) “Ve’Korosa Shemo Yishmael- And You shall name him Yishmael” But what the gemarrah means is that some say he fits into the same category as the other three. Each of these three were a pivotal connection to the building of the Beis Hamikdosh and the coming of Moshiach. Yitzchok was the first korbon. He lit the fire that was to be the Beis Hamikdosh. Shlomo Hamelech built the Beis Hamikdosh. And at the time he envisioned its ultimate destruction. He therefore built underground tunnels in order that one day the vessels of the Beis Hamikdosh could be saved. Yehoyashu actually stored away those vessels just before the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh. But what about Yishmael? How does his name fit into this pattern of history? The Baal Haturim says on our posuk “Al-Penei Kol-Echov Nofal-Over All His Brothers He Dwelt” that the word Nofal means to fall. The very next words in the Torah are “V’Ayleh Toldos Yitzchok-These are the offspring of Yitzchok.” In the future when the descendants of Yishmael will fall at the end of days, only then will the history of Yitzchok begin under the reign of the Moshiach. Whenever there is a transcendence to a higher level, it is always associated with a test of emunah. One scenario of these events has it that the descendants of Yishamel and Yisrael will face each other on the temple mount. Each claiming their faith to be the truth. They will each offer a Korbon and agree that whoever' sacrifice is not accepted will convert to the others faith. A fire will come down and consume the Korbon of the Benei Yishmael. This will be the ultimate test of Emunah. Benei Yisroel will refuse and scream Shema Yisroel at which point a tremendous battle will ensue, the survivors will flee to the mountains and ten days later Moshiach will arrive. This could be the meaning of the name Yishmael. Not that he will in the future listen to Hashem but Yishma-Kael. - Hashem will listen. That in the future Hashem will listen and accept the korban of Yishmael.
(25:17) “V’ayleh Shenei Chaye Ishmael Maias Shanah U’sheloshim Shanah V’sheva Shonim-And these are the years of Ishmael’s life one hundred years thirty years and seven years.” We learnt, in the first posuk of this parsha, that by Sarah the mentioning of the years individually was a sign of her righteousness. Once again we find this concept by the death of Avraham. (25:7) In both places Rashi comments how the inclusion of the years teaches us how each group of years were similar to each other. How can this be said of Yishmael? We know that he only did Teshuva at the end of his life? The Daas Zekainim answers that his teshuva was so sincere, that it completely wiped out those years in which he sinned to the extent that the Torah says his entire life was equal.
The Parsha is named Chaye Sarah yet it deals with the death of Sarah? What is the connection between the beginning of the Parsha discussing the acquisition of the Moros Hamachpelah, and the end of the parsha dealing with the death of Yishmael? Why was the burial in that cave so vital to Avraham? We know that before man ate from the Eitz Hadaas there was the concept of true and false. There was no question about right or wrong. After the sin there became a mixture within man of good and evil. Man now had to choose one over the other. To separate good from evil. This was the life mission of Sarah and Avraham. The means by which they would achieve this separation was through clarity, the type of clarity that can only be attained through Torah. When did they accomplish this correction of the original sin? When Sarah told Avraham to expel Yishmael, she was separating him from Yitzchok, the good from the evil. She was correcting what Chava mixed together. Avraham corrected the sin of Adom here by listening to his wife, since that was the source of Adom’s original sin.
How is it that Avraham and Sarah, who were the leaders of Kiruv, were unable to deal with their own son? It says that Yishmael was being “M’tzachek” Yitzchok. Why was this so intolerable? When Yitzchok was weaned they made a celebration and invited all of the leaders of that time. Yishmael came and mocked the proceedings, saying “How can you celebrate this child is not even Avraham’s son. He was fathered by Avimelech who abducted Sarah.” When Avraham and Sarah heard this they could not let Yishmael undermine all they had worked for. You cannot reform one who is a scoffer. But we find that Yishmael was present at the Akeidah? As it says “Vayomer Avraham el N’orov Shvu Lochem Po him Hachamor V’ani V’H’naarNeilcha Ad Koh V’Nishtachaveh V’noshuvah Aleichem- Avrahm said to the youths “stay here with the donkeys and I and the lad will go there and bow down and return to you.” When and how did he return? We find Avraham returning but there is no mention of Yitzchok’s return?
The Midrash relates that although Avraham listened to Sarah and sent Yishmael away, he did not severe his ties completely. He continued to take an interest in his spiritual welfare. Three years later he visited the tent where Yishmael dwelled. Yishmael was not at home but he found a woman there who was abusing her children. Avraham discovered that this woman was Yishmael’s wife and these were his grandchildren. He left a message with her for Yishmael he said “Tell your husband that an old man from the land of Canaan came to visit you and said that the threshold of your house is not good.” When Yishmael returned he understood who that old man was his father. He divorced his wife and remarried a woman from Mitzrayim. Three years later Avraham once again visited home. This time Yishmael’s wife who offered him food and water greeted him warmly. Avraham left a message for his son saying “Tell you husband that the threshold of his home is good,” When Yishmael returned his wife told him about the visit. He said “That was my father, he still regards me with mercy.” By maintaining a connection with his son, Avraham was able to bring Yishmael back to teshuvah. As we find at the end of the parsha by the burial of Avraham ( (25:9) “Vayikbru Oso Yitzchok V’Yishmael Bonov-His sons Yitzchok and Yishmael buried him.” We know Yishmael did teshuvah because the Torah mentions Yitzchok’s name first. Meaning that Yishmael allowed Yitzchok to go ahead of him. This was not a mere act of courtesy on his part. Yishmael’s entire posture was that he was the first born and legitimate son of Avraham. Now as he exhibits acceptance of Yitzchok’s position he and Yitzchok are both referred to as “Bonov-Sons”of Avraham.
Yitzchok returns as well in this week’s Parsha. When Eliezer brings Rivka back as a wife for Yitzchak, we find him returning from Bear Lachi Roi. This is the same place that angels who informed her of the future birth of Yishmael visited Hagar. He was bringing Hagar back to remarry his father. Why was this necessary at this point and time? We learn from here that before a person marries he should clear away any previous wrongs he might have held against him in order to make a fresh start. Yitzchok felt responsible for the expulsion of Yishmael and Hagar. Therefore on the day he was to meet his new bride he was correcting something that he felt might be held against him.
The lesson here is that there is a time for separation and a time for reconciliation. Avraham and Yitzchok need to separate from Yishmael and Eliezer in order to reach spiritual heights. But there was also a promise to rejoin them again. When Hashem created Adom and Chava they were one then separated only to be reconnected again on our own. This is the mission of the life of Sarah, to separate through clarity but with her partner Avraham to also reconnect. She had the courage to tell Avraham to cast out his son (Din) but he had the mercy to remain connected (Chessed).