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Table Talk Series Two: Chayei Sarah

Shalom Fighting: What allowed Elijah to live forever? (Vayikra Rabbah 27:4) The Sefer HaIkkarim (Ma’amar 4: 51. See also Seforno, Numbers 25:12) explains that as the Rambam (Hilchot

Yesodei HaTorah , Chapter 4) explains, a human being is a composite of the four basic elements; fire, wind, water and earth. Death comes from the dispersion of the elements. (See Akeidat Yitzchak, Chayei Sarah, Gate 22, Sefer Notrikon of the Pri Megadim 106:4)  Elijah lives forever because God gave him a special gift that the elements would remain connected and cooperative. This is why Pinchas, who is Elijah (Zohar Volume 2 190a) was granted a ‘Covenant of Peace,’ peace between the four elements. Sarah was buried in Kiryat Arbah – the Village of the Four – symbolizing the four elements, also known as Hebron – which means ‘Chibur,’ or connection. Sara was buried in a place where the four elements remained connected as a reflection of her life. (For further discussion, see Rav Yosef Engel, Shav D’Nichemta A. page 42) We can understand why Elijah who reconnects the hearts of parents and children (Malachi 4:24: the closing verse of the Prophets) must represent the Shalom between disparate parts. How can we associate Sarah, who pressured Hagar into running away, and who eventually insisted that Hagar and her son be chased from Sarah’s home, with Shalom? Is it possible that we consider Sarah’s fight for the wholeness – Shleimut – of her family – the more powerful Shalom than someone who always maintains the peace? Consider that Pinchas who killed Zimri and Kozbi was rewarded with the “Covenant of Peace.” Also consider the vast surface differences between Abraham’s loving kindness and Sarah’s tough Din – Judgment.

Marriage Prospects: “And God blessed Abraham with all – Bakol.” (Genesis 24:1) The Talmud (Bava Batra 16b) explains that Abraham had a daughter named Bakol.  The Rashba (Responsa, Volume 3 #340) quotes a questioner who believed that Bakol was older than Yitzchak! Tosafot (Bava Batra 141a: Bat) Asks, “Why did Abraham send Eliezer to find a wife when Isaac could have married Bakol? The Talmud (Sanhedrin 58b) rules that a Noachide may marry a sister.” (The Maharal explains that the Patriarchs only observed the positive commandments of the Torah, not the negative. Gur Aryeh Genesis 46:10. See too Perashat Derachim of the Mishne Lamelech, Lecture 1, page 6.)Tosafot answers that Bakol was too young. An alternative answer is that Hagar was her mother and therefore Bakol would not be a proper wife for Isaac. Why would Betuel’s daughter be more appropriate than Abraham’s daughter from Hagar? If the possibility of Bakol was serious enough for Tosafot to consider the Halachot regarding such a marriage, it must have been very serious indeed. Why not ask Isaac to wait if Bakol was too young? If we take the Midrash literally that Rivka was 3 years old, then age does not seem to have been an issue!

For More on this Portion please see The Foundation Stone™ Blog:
On My Terms
An Appreciation of Eliezer
Successful Chesed

The Foundation Stone™
The Profundities of Torah: Avraham and Ephron
The Torah Connection: the Servants of the Fathers
The Belzer Rebbe: Pride in Our Greatness & Becoming A Servant of God
Parsha Hound
Haftarah: The Best In Us
Table Talk Series One
Rav Moshe Minder: Abraham’s Yeshiva
Stories of the Baal Shem Tov: The Dowry
Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz: When Big Fat Weddings Get In The Way

In Honor of Abraham’s Chesed to Sarah:
Honoring The Deceased: One
Escorting The Dead: Eternal Company
Sefer Chasidim: Escorting the Dead I, II, III, IV
Letting Go Of The Super Bowl
Broken Tablets
The Eternal Importance of Our Actions
Cave of Machpeilah I, II, III, IV

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