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Parshas Chayei Sara

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Parshas Chayei Sara
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What Was The Last of Avrohom's 10 Nisyonos (Hint: Not The Akeida)?

I once heard a gadol say that according to some Rishonim the last test for Avrohom was trying to find a place to bury Sara. This seems quite odd since if each nisayon was increasingly more difficult how can this possibly be harder than the Akeidah?? He explained that at the Akeidah Avrohom was already 137 years old and had been through many trials and tribulations. There Hashem himself certified him as a "Yirei Elokim". Avrohom would have been justified in thinking that he had done everything asked of him and deserves a little break.

But no this was not to be. Now his wife died and he can't even find a decent place to bury her without a major hassle in the land that Hashem promised him. Avrohom had every right to be upset. He was supposed to be in his golden years enjoying the fruits of his labor. But yet even with this test he did not complain. So it wasn't the severity of the test that made this the greatest test of them all. It was the timing. And yet again Avrohom passed with flying colors accepting his plight without uttering a word of complaint.

The moral of the story is that no matter what you have done or who you are, as long as you are still in this world there is no rest and there is no reward. You will just have to be patient a little longer until you get to your final destination.


Chevron Is A Wonderful Place To be Buried

"And after that Avraham buried Sarah his wife in the Mearas Hamachpelah , in the city of Chevron in the Land of Canaan."; Why was it necessary for the pasuk to be so specific by telling us that the Mearas Hamachpelah was in Chevron and also in the Land of Canaan?

The Netziv explains that the pasuk is telling us where the most prestigious place for one to be buried is. The best place is the Mearas Hamachpelah. After that comes Chevron and then the rest of Eretz Yisroel.


Eliezer To Rivka - There Is More To Life Than Just Chesed

"And it was when the camels finished drinking, Eliezer took a golden nose ring, its weight a Beka, and 2 bracelets on her arms weighing 10 golden Shekel. Rashi tells us, the Beka weight was an allusion to the Shekalim of Klal Yisroel - the half shekel donated by Klal Yisroel for the Beis HaMikdash. The 2 braclets were an allusion to the 2 Luchos - and the weight of 10 shekel, alluded to the Aseres HaDibros which were written on them.

Why was it necessary at this time for Eliezer to hint to Rivka concerning these future events? The Maharal answers that Eliezer was telling Rivka that the world stands on 3 things - Torah, Avodah and Gemilus Chasadim. I see that you are very accomplished in acts of Gemilas Chesed. However, to be one of the foundations of Klal Yisroel you must also excel in Torah and Avodah. Torah, which was represented by the 2 bracelets weighing 10 shekel - alluding to the Luchos. Avodah, which was represented by the Beka - used to purchase the Korbonos for the Beis HaMikdash.


Avrohom Held Back Some Tears Over Sarah

"And Avraham came to eulogize Sarah and to cry over her"; The word "to cry over her" is "ViLivkosa". The Torah spells it with a small "Chaf". What is the significance of this small letter?

The Satan has many ways to get us to sin. He tries at times to stop one from doing a Mitzvah beforehand. If he doesn't succeed, he will try to make us regret that we did the Mitzvah, therefore lessening our reward. Avraham did a great Mitzvah by offering his son a Korbon by the Akeidah. It was because of the news of the Akeidah where Yitzchok was almost killed, that caused Sarah to die. The Satan wanted Avraham to regret the Akeidah because it killed his wife. Avraham did not want to show this regret. He therefore minimized his weeping by the funeral of Srah to show that he did not regret the Akeidah. That is why it says a small "Chaf' - because he minimized his weeping.


Eliezer's Secret Desire

The pasuk states, Eliezer told Lavan and Besuel - "Ulay Lo Saylech HaIshah Acharay" - "Perhaps the woman won't go after me" - Maybe she won't want to come back with me to Eretz Canaan. Rashi notes that the word "Ulay" - "Perhaps" is spelled here without a "Vov' - it is spelled like "Aylay" - "to me". Eliezer had a daughter and hoped that Yitzchok would marry his own daughter. He therefore said, - "Perhaps the woman won't go after me" - his intention was "Aylay" - and then you will come to me and let Yitzchok marry my daughter. The Meforshim ask, why is the missing letter stated the second time this story is mentioned? The story of Eliezer going to find a Shidduch for Rivka is repeated twice in the Torah - once as it happens, and a second time when Eliezer relates the story to Lavan and Besuel. Why is "Aylay" first said in the repetition and not the first time?

The Kotzker answers, sometimes while a person does a certain action he can't really know what his true intentions are. He might have ulterior motives, but doesn't realize it while he is in the midst of the act. It is only after he takes a step back that he realizes his true motives. When the episode occurred, Eliezer really thought that his question was LiShem Shamayim - What if Rivka does not want to come? What should I do then? When he related the story to Lavan and Besuel, it then hit him what his real motive for the question was... To get Yitzchok for his own daughter!


Yitzchok and Rivka - A Strange First Date That Changed The Course of History

Rivka on her way to Eretz Yisroel met Yitzchok by chance while he was davening. This holy sight of the tzaddik davening intimidated her greatly, says the Netziv. She jumped off the camel and covered herself out of fear. The Netziv explains that this set the tone for her lifelong relationship with Yitzchok. Unlike the other Imahos like Sara and Rochel who were not shy about voicing their opinions to their spouses, Rivka was always intimidated by Yitzchok and did not dare verbalize any disagreement directly to Yitzchok.

This fear that Rivka had for Yitzchok was integral for the future, says the Netziv. Had Rivka been like the other Imahos she would not have been quiet as Eisav's deception captured his father's love and attention. She would have exposed Yitzchok to the truth about Eisav. Since it was important for the future of Klal Yisroel that Yaakov receive the Brachos from Yitzchok in the way he did, Hashem devised this chance meeting that left a lifelong impression on Rivka and helped shape the future.


Avrohom's Charm of Hope

The Gemara in Bava Basra says that a special jewel hung from the neck of Avrohom. When a sick person looked at it, he became cured. After Avrohom died Hashem hung it on the sun. The Chassam Sofer explains this Chazal as follows. When Iyov first started having trouble, his wife complained. He answered her "Can we accept the good and not the bad?" By this question Iyov meant to say that without bad in our lives it would be impossible to appreciate the good. Therefore, we who have seen only good need a little bit of bad so that we can understand how good we have it.

This says the Chassam Sofer was the message of Avrohom. Avrohom's early beginnings were racked with illness and poverty. Only afterward "Hashem Beirach Avrohom Bakol"; Avrohom was zocheh to health and wealth. Avrohom became a role model for inspiration. People who were down and out looked at Avrohom as a sign of hope knowing that their lives can also improve and turnaround as soon as Hashem willed it so. After Avrohom died there was no role model to look to anymore. However the sun provided the inspiration. The sun comes out after the dark and is only appreciated after living through the darkness. This is what Chazal mean after Avrohom died the charm of hope hung from the sun.


Rivka Was The Granddaughter of Milka, Sara's Famous Older Sister

When Eliezer asked Rivka who's daughter she is, she answered that she is the daughter of Besuel the son of Nachor who was born to Milka. Why did she mention who Besuel was born to, asks Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz. He answers that Milka was apparently older than Sara since she is written first (Avi Milka V'Avi Yiska. Sara says the gemara was Yiska.) We also find that right after the Akeida when Sara was already 127 years old the Torah says that Avrohom heard that Milka gave birth to children. Therefore reasons Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz, Milka probably gave birth shortly before that. In that case she was very old and the births were nothing short of miraculous. Since Hashem would only perform a Nes because she was destined to have offspring who were tzaddikim, Rivka was very proud of this "Yichus" and mentioned it as part of her family identity.

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