Parashat Chayei Sara
Sarah dies and Abraham purchases the Cave of Machpela as a burial plot for his wife. Abraham’s servant travels to Aram to find a wife for Isaac. Isaac marries Rebecca. Abraham dies.
First Aliyah: Sarah died at the age of 127, and her grieving husband Abraham identified a plot in the city of Hebron that he wished to procure for use as a family burial ground. This plot, a cave situated in the Machpela field, belonged to Ephron the Hittite, so Abraham approached the Hittite tribe and asked for permission to purchase the parcel of land. Originally Ephron wished to give the plot to Abraham as a gift, but after Abraham insisted on paying full price the acquisition was concluded with Abraham paying 400 premium silver coins.
Second Aliyah: Having acquired the land, Abraham buried Sarah in the Cave of Machpela. At this point, Abraham summoned his servant and charged him with the mission of finding a suitable wife for his son Isaac. Abraham had his servant swear that he would not take a wife for Isaac from the local Canaanite women. Instead, he asked him to travel to Aram, his native land, and find a wife for Isaac there.
Third Aliyah: The servant set out for his master’s homeland and evening time found him beside the city well. He prayed for success in his mission, and asked for a heavenly sign to confirm his choice of a girl for Isaac. He would ask a maiden for a drink of water, and the one who would answer: “Certainly, and I’ll also give your camels to drink as well,” would be the proper choice for Isaac. Immediately a young lady approached and in response to the servant’s request for a drink, she offered to give his camels to drink too. Upon questioning her, he discovered that she was Abraham’s great-niece, Rebecca.
Fourth Aliyah: Rebecca ran to tell her family about the man at the well, and her brother, Laban, went out, greeted the servant, and invited him to spend the night. The servant told Rebecca’s family the purpose of his mission to the city, and recounted the heavenly sign that designated Rebecca as his master’s son’s wife. Rebecca’s family agreed that the match was divinely ordained, and consented to the proposed match.
Fifth Aliyah: Rebecca’s family celebrates the engagement together with Abraham’s servant. Next morning, the servant insisted on immediately returning to his master with the maiden in hand, and after Rebecca agreed, the two set out for Canaan. Isaac married Rebecca, loved her, and finally found consolation for the loss of his mother.
Sixth Aliyah: Abraham remarried and fathered several more children. Before his death, however, Abraham gave gifts to his other children and sent them all away, and bequeathed all the rest of his possessions to Isaac. Abraham died at the age of 175, and was buried by Isaac and Ishmael in the cave of Machpela beside his wife, Sarah.
Seventh Aliyah: Ishmael’s progeny are detailed in this section. Ishmael passed away at the age of 137.
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