This Week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Chayyei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18)

I discuss the weekly Torah portion with Rabbi Rabbs Mondays at 7:00 pm PST on the Rabbi Rabbs cam and on YouTube. Facebook Fan Page.

This week we study Parashat Chayyei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18).

* Rabbi Berel Wein writes: “The death of a parent at any stage of life and at any age is a tragic and traumatic experience. I find that the grief is more profound for the surviving spouse than even for the surviving children. Children somehow find a way to move on with their lives. They factored in the inevitability of the death of a parent into their subconscious and thus usually were and are able to deal with their loss. Not so with the surviving spouse who never imagined being left alone and bereft especially in old age.”

We have to learn to stand on our own two feet. We need to learn differentiation. Read the book Passionate Marriage for details. Nobody is ever going to always be there for us.

Rabbi Wein writes: “Abraham remarries Hagar/Keturah and even fathers children from her. But his concern and fatherly love is concentrated on his son Yitzchak, the son of his beloved Sarah.”

Most men are totally capable of having it on with multiple partners while feeling totally in love with another person.

Rabbi Wein writes: “Through Yitzchak, Sarah is still alive and present in the life of Abraham.”

This is not good for Yitzchak to have dad thinking Sarah is still alive through him. It’s not good for Avraham. A mentch treats people on their own terms.

Rabbi Wein writes: “Rebecca was Sarah incarnate.”

Not so healthy!

* Notice that whenever some king gets close to our matriarch Sarah, he comes down with the clap.

* Much like Eliezer, I too have been placing my fate in the hands of God to send me the proper wife.

* Rabbi Berel Wein writes: “After the death of Sarah, Avraham remarries to a woman named Keturah. Rashi, following Midrash, states that she was Hagar, the woman whom he had married earlier at the behest of Sarah herself and who became the mother of Yishmael.”

The midrash displays a hermeneutic of personage parsimony.

* Rabbi Berel Wein writes: “Living with the Hittites has taught him how cheap talk is in that society and that the words of his neighbors and erstwhile admirers are not to be relied upon. By recording the entire series of conversations and negotiations that mark Avraham’s purchase of the Cave of Machpela, the Torah warns his descendants that good words are often not to be taken at face value. Better criticism from a friend than compliments from an enemy.”

I am so eager for flattery at times I get taken in by sweet words. I am so eager for somebody to confirm my view of myself that I become a sucker. By contrast, I’ll turn away from good people who’ve rebuked me.

Rabbi Wein writes: “We have a right to be skeptical of good words alone. Only good deeds and positive actions have the ring of truth and conviction to them.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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