Torah Portion: Hayei Sarah (Life of Sarah) B’resheet/Genesis 23:1-25:18
HafTorah: I Kings 1:1-31
Tonight we read a Torah portion mainly made up of two events in the life of Avraham. The first event here in Genesis 23 and the second being the search for a wife for Yitzach. When we think of these two subjects it should remind us of G-d’s promise of a land and a people to Avraham.
Concerning the first promise we read of it in these verses: B’resheet/Genesis 12:7, 13:14-17, 15:7 and 15:18-21. Five times G-d affirms His promise of land to Avraham. Also, we can find in 5 places in scripture G-d speaking of Avraham’s descendents as the stars in heaven. This promise he affirms in B’resheet/Genesis 12:2, 13:16, 15:5, 17:4-5 and lastly 22:17.
So, we read of these promises of G-d to Avraham and yet here in the beginning of our portion we read where, at the death of his wife Sarah, he had to bargain with the Hittites for a place to bury her. We read where they offered to give him a place but he refused. Why? Avraham knew the importance of this transaction and wanted there to be no question that it was his, bought and paid for and recorded.
Let us take a moment to think about this before going on to the next step of find a wife for his son. Avraham went through a drawn out process with the Hittite owner for the parcel of land he desired. Avraham refused the land as a gift. He knew that for it be permanently his he must buy it legally. So, in the end he paid an exorbitant price for the property. This was a small parcel containing a field, trees and a cave.
Always remember the Torah is not a history book though it may contain historical elements. It is mainly and foremost a teaching book. At the end of our meeting we will, with G-d’s help, find those points that we can apply to our own lives today. Again, this small field is all that Avraham actually realized during his life.
Now moving on to finding a bride for his son, Yitzach. In B’resheet/Genesis 24 we read of this search for a bride. Yitzach was by this time probably how old? He was likely to be at least 37. He was born when Sarah was 90 and she died at 127. Avraham had only one son of promise and no grandchildren. G-d’s promise was for descendents as the stars in the sky. So here in our chapter Avraham took action he sent his servant back to Mesopotamia to find a wife for his son. He told his servant his son must not marry a local girl. Why?
So here again we see Avraham set in motion a plan that would take a lot of money, time and negotiations. The servant traveled with a large caravan of camels ad other servants. When he arrived in the city of Avraham’s relatives, the first thing he did was pray. Before he finished G-d sent Rivkah to draw water from the well where the servant had stopped.
The difficult part came in negotiating with the family. Like the purchase of the cave, this was a drawn out affair talking of dowery and time of departure. Eventually they left and returned to Avraham.
Now as we look at these promises of G-d to Avraham what do we see concerning the land and children? These promises would not happen soon or easily. Also they did not happen without human effort. G-d promised Avraham children and land. However Avraham was not to just sit back and wait for them. He had to take part in bringing these promises about. So it is with us. G-d promises His children a life of closeness to Him, a life of being in His presence but He does not promise us a life of ease or luxury. We walk this walk of faith by doing our part. We walk this walk by praying, living every day as His people. We act, G-d helps, so it was here with Avraham and so it is with us.
I asked about what we can find in the Messianic Scripture to give us encouragement and what can we find to support what we have seen in Avraham’s life. What are some of the ones you have come up with.
II Corinthians 12:10
I Timothy 6:6-8
I Peter 5:6-7
When we look at B’resheet/Genesis 24:1 we read of Avraham being old, advanced in age but no land was his other than the field. He had no descendents but one child and yet the story ends with these words, “the L-rd had blessed Avraham in all things.” As he has us.