For the week ending 7 November 2015 / 25 Heshvan 5776

Parshat Chayei Sara

by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair -
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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. As this is the burial place of Adam and Chava, 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. (Some 140 gallons!) This extreme kindness marks her as the right wife for Yitzchak and a suitable Mother of the Jewish People. Negotiations with Rivka's father and her brother Lavan result in her leaving with Eliezer. Yitzchak brings Rivka into his mother Sarahs tent, marries her and loves her. He is then consoled for the loss of his mother. Avraham remarries Hagar who is renamed Ketura to indicate her improved ways. 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.


The Source of the Soul

“And Sara died in Kiryat Arba — that is Chevron …” (23:2)

The eyes of the world focus on a small hill in the center of the city of Jerusalem.

It measures about one-eighth of a one square kilometer.

Lives are forfeited for its soil. Nowhere else in the entire world does such a tiny patch of land provoke so much strife and bloodshed.


Because this is the place where Heaven and Earth kiss.

This is the place from which G-d started His creation. This is the place where Avraham was prepared to sacrifice his son Yitzchak; the place where Yaakov saw the connection of Heaven to Earth in a ladder stretching skywards; the place where our two Holy Temples stood and where we believe the third and final one will be built at the proper time.

Even though the nations of the world may not understand all this, they instinctively sense its importance and uniqueness and they want it to control it for themselves.

In addition to this place, there is another place where this world also touches the world beyond, and it too is a site of contention and bloodshed.

It’s called Chevron.

The word Chevron comes from the root meaning “to connect” — l’chaber. The souls of all who are buried there connect Above in the City of G-d known as “The Four Camps of the Divine Presence.”

Not for naught is the desire of the righteous to be buried there, for from Chevron their souls merit to connect to their spiritual source.

That’s the meaning of this verse, “Kiryat Arba — literally“the City of the Four(Camps of the Divine Presence)” — that is Chevron, the “connector” of the soul to its ultimate source.

  • Source: Rabbeinu Bachaye

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