Parasha for the Week: Chaya Sarah Genesis 23:1 - 25:18.
Haftarah for the Week: 1 Kings 1:1 - 31.
Besorat Yeshua: Mark 11:1 – 14.
Sarah, Mother of the Jewish People, passes on at age 127. After mourning and eulogizing her, Avraham seeks to bury her in the Cave of Machpela. Avraham pays its owner, Ephron the Hittite, an exorbitant sum.
Avraham sends his faithful servant Eliezer to find a suitable wife for his son, Yitzchak, making him swear to choose a wife only from among Avrahams family.
Eliezer travels to Aram Naharaim and prays for a sign. Providentially, Rivka appears. Eliezer asks for water Not only does she give him water, but she draws water for all 10 of his thirsty camels.
Negotiations with Rivka's father and her brother Lavan result in her leaving with Eliezer. Yitzchak brings Rivka into his mother Sarah's tent, marries her, and loves her. He is then consoled for the loss of his mother.
Avraham marries Ketura. Six children are born to them. After giving them gifts, Avraham sends them to the East. Avraham passes away at the age of 175 and is buried next to Sarah in the Cave of Machpela, which is today in the city of Hebron.
Avraham and Machpelah
After the death of Sarah, Avraham wanted to buy a property in the land of Canaan. If this land was to be the land of G-d’s people, the descendants of Avraham, he must give example and start to bury his relatives in this land. To buy this first ever property bought by G-d’s people in Canaan, he went to the leaders of the bnei Chet the “son of Chet,” translated in our text as the “Hittites.”
The Torah states: “Avraham rose and bowed Le’am ha’aretz libnei-chet which is translated “to the Hittites, the people of the land” (Genesis 23:7). The people of the land or Am Ha’aretz does not refer to the common people, as Rabbi Hirsch put it, but to the people’s representatives, who are authorized and duty-bound to punish those who violate the law and who are authorized to grant aliens the right to acquire land in perpetuity. Accordingly, the bnei Chet would mean “for the sons of Chet,” the council that represents the whole population.
When the time came for Avraham to bury Sarah, he knew the exact location that he wanted (the Cave of Machpela) and its owner, Efron the Hittite. So Avraham went to the Hittites and asked to speak to Efron. Efron said a lot and did not even do a little. When first approached, he said to Avraham, "No, I don't want you to pay for it! It's a gift, please take it to bury your dead." So in public he declared that he would give Avraham the field for free. Avraham insisted, and Efron then reacted, "My lord... what is 400 silver coins between me and you?" So all of a sudden, Efron was hinting for 400 pieces of silver, which was a great deal more than nothing. By "And Avraham heard," Avraham understood that Efron wanted this payment. Efron showed us what not to do. We do not want to promise to do great things and then do nothing at all -- because by demonstrating that our final concern is only our own lust for money or power -- we show that we are avoiding spirituality.
HAFTARAH 1 Kings 1:1 - 31
As we have the last days of Sara in the Parasha, we have the last days of king David in this haftarah. He is old now, and in poor health. But even in this difficult situation, he is still dedicated to the Lord and the protection of his kingdom and his people. That is why as soon as he heard that the person chosen by the Lord to be his successor was in danger of losing the kingdom he, according to Abarbanel, “acted firmly and vigorously.”
According to the second book of Samuel, David reigns for a long time. “David was 30 years old when he began to reign and he reigned 40 years” (2 Samuel 5:4). That is why he is now 70 years old. According to Beer Moshe, “David brought all of his days with him into his old age, none of them wasted, all of them filled with Torah study, obedience to God, and accomplishment for his people.”
Let’s remember that Jerusalem, the city of King David, is on the top of the hills. Jerusalem could be very cold in winter time. Thus we understand that being seventy, David was lacking of natural body heat and needed to be warmed.
The garments were not enough to warm David. That is why the servants of David made a suggestion, “Let them seek a young virgin for my lord the king, and let her attend the king and be his nurse; and let her lie by your side, so my lord the king may keep warm” (1 Kings 1:2).
Then a rebellion came from Adonijah. “Now Adonijah son of Haggith exalted himself, saying: ‘I’ll be king!’ So he prepared for himself chariots, horsemen and 50 men to run before him” (1 Kings 1:5). Many people among God’s people followed Adonijah, even though they knew that Solomon was David’s chosen successor. He was still young, only twelve years old, and according to the Midrash there were people, among the most powerful and influential people in the realm who felt that Solomon was influenced by David’s behavior with Bathsheeba while she was still married to Uriah. These people were unhappy with the nomination of Solomon as king. Adonijah exalted himself saying, “I will reign” speaking in the future. Adonijah was patiently waiting for his time, but prepared the most powerful people of the kingdom (Joab and Abiathar) to make him king at the death of David.
King David had some supporters who opposed to Adonijah, “Zadok the kohen, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei and David’s mighty men, were not on Adonijah’s side” (1 Kings 1:8). If Joab and Abiathar supported Adonijah, it was because they were sure that under Solomon’s reign they would not be maintained in their powerful positions.
Besorat Yeshua Mark 11:1 – 14
We continue to read the Besorah of Mark in connection with the Parasha. In this Parasha Chayei Sarah, we have several stories, but mainly the death of Sarah, the burying of Sarah in the Cave of Machpellah, the sending of Eliezer to find a wife for Isaac and Isaac’s wedding. And in this portion or the Besorah of Mark we have the sending of the disciples by Yeshua to get a colt.
We read the beginning of the Besorah saying, “Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Yeshua sent two of his disciples and said to them, ‘Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ Say, ‘The L-rd has need of it and will send it back here immediately’” (Mark 11:1–3).
Bethphage and Bethany are both on the Mount of Olives. To go from or to Jerusalem from these villages we must cross the Mount of Olives, which is very significant for Yeshua. It is from the Mount of Olives that He will give his great prophecy, and it is from the Mount of Olives that He will ascend to heaven and it is on the Mount of Olives that He will definitely come back with the heavenly Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:4 and Revelation 21:2).
It is clear that between these two texts we have another parallel, it is the theme of the “sending.” Abraham “sends” Eliezer for a special mission exactly as Yeshua “sends” two disciples for a special mission. The success of the mission of Eliezer, to find a wife for Isaac, depends on the blessing of G-d. Eliezer has to go to a city that he does not know, to a family he does not know, and only the G-d of Avraham could help him to find the right woman.
In the same way the success of the mission of the two disciples to find a colt depends on the blessing of G-d. The disciples have to go to a city they don’t know, to a family and men they don’t know, and only G-d can help them find the right colt. Abraham said to Eliezer, “to my land and to my relatives you must go and get a wife for my son Isaac” (Genesis 24:4). Yeshua said to the disciples, “If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ Say, ‘The Master needs it.’ And right away he will send it back here” (Mark 11:3). This “colt” or young donkey is important in the story of Yeshua, because it is part of the Messianic prophecy. Indeed, in Zechariah it is written, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9). In this portion of the Besorah, Zechariah’s prophecy is fulfilled by Yeshua. “And they brought the colt to Yeshua and threw their cloaks on it, and He sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the L-rd! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!’” (Mark 11:7–10). We have here direct quotation from the book of Psalms 118: 25-26. Yeshua is acclaimed by his people, the Jewish people.
We see here that the common people were not against Yeshua, only the leaders. This day was a great day for Yeshua and the disciples; it was a day of rejoicing, similar to a great wedding day, and everyone in the city shouted: ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the L-rd!’ This day of joy reminds us the day of joy for Avraham who was happy to see the wedding of Isaac and Rivka.
Yeshua entered Jerusalem and the Temple in the evening. He wanted to see and to know what happened in the house of God. He saw, and went back to Bethany, to the house of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus his dear friends. On the day after, Yeshua worked a new miracle upon a fig tree. The disciples were surprised, but the only reaction they had was, “And His disciples were listening” (Mark 11:14). Are we listening to the miraculous acts of God, and to his teaching to us?