Parashat Chayye Sarah (Genesis 23:1 - 25:18)
A weekly Torah exploration for families by Michael S. Raileanu, M.A.Ed.
We are now in Parashat Chayye Sarah, Genesis 23:1 - 25:18. In this parasha Abraham buys his first piece of land, the Cave of Machpelah, where he will bury Sarah. In the scene where Abraham buys the cave something very unusual happens, Ephron the Hitite, loses the "vav" in his name. This happens at the moment Abraham is measuring out the amount of silver that is required to make the purchase. It is a small change but it is important.
- Ok, why would his name change when he is taking Abraham's money? Why a cave and not a piece of land? What are the advantages of a cave?
- Why does Abraham insist on paying for the cave when the conversation begins with Ephron saying that he will just give it to Abraham? Is it possible that Ephron wasn't telling the truth and Abraham knew it? Why else might Abraham insist on paying for the cave?
- What does it mean to Abraham that he has to buy the cave even though God has already promised that He is going to give Abraham and his descendants the land? Why didn't God just give him this specific piece of land right now and the rest of the land later?
- If you were Ephron and you knew how important Abraham was, how would you treat him? How would his fame affect the amount you charged him? How would it affect the way you acted during the sale?
- This parasha is called Chayye Sarah (the Life of Sarah) but it all about what happens after she dies. Hmm, what then might be the purpose for the name? When it is all said and done, Abraham gets married again to Keturah (Ch 25:1 - 4) yet Isaac still inherits everything. What do you think about that? Finally, it opens with Sarah's death but it ends with Abraham's death and a quick retelling of his life (Ch 25:8 - 18). What do you think about that?
Copyright 2009 Michael S. Raileanu. All rights reserved.