The name of the Torah portion חיי שרה Chayei Sarah means “life of Sarah,” but it starts with the matriarch’s death. We see how Abraham works hard to find a final resting place for her, but her death had a huge impact on Yitzkhak (Isaac) as well, affecting him for years. Her death also played a larger than life role in how Abraham’s most trusted servant, Eliazer of Damascus, set out to find a suitable wife for Yitzkhak to carry out Abraham’s legacy.
God “shows up” all over the place in events recorded in the Bible and today, but He is not passive. Rather, the LORD is active in Earth’s affairs.
A pattern of behavior we see in the Torah reading וַיֵּרָא Vayera (“and He appeared”) is that when people are in “fight or flight” mode, they usually make very poor decisions. Lot’s “bright idea” to give his daughters to protect his guests from a vile mob, Lot’s daughter’s “bright idea” to get pregnant by their father a mere few days after they escaped from Sodom’s flames, and later Abraham and Sarah’s decision to lie to Abimelech about the extent of their kinship, all these poor decision had consequences.
We will see through the testimony of the words of God the interplay between the promised one, Yitskhak (Isaac), and the one born only through the flesh, Yishma’el (Ishmael).
“Now these are the records of the generations of Yitzkhak, Abraham’s son: Abraham became the father of Yitzkhak.” (Genesis 25:19 NASB)
The struggles of Yitzkhak and Yishma’el explored in Torah section Toldot or Toledot (“generations” or “accounts”) were very similar to the later struggles of Ya’akov and Eysau. We see why in Romans 9:6-24. We have two sets of men: Yitzkhak and Ya’akov vs. Yishma’el and Eysau.
When we are pushed to our limits, God promises us that the ways of the Kingdom of God are far more profitable in the long term than trying to avoid pain. That’s what Abraham and Sarah learned over many years of their lives. It’s all the more relevant today for increasing social and physical pressure put on believers in the Holy One of Israel and the Anointed One of God. This lesson of faith is the backdrop of the Torah portion (parashah) חיי שרה Chayei Sarah (“life of Sarah,” Gen. 23:1–25:18).
“He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” (Genesis 28:12 NASB)
Ya’akov returns to Bethel, called Luz at this time. Jewish tradition says this is the same place as Mt. Moriah but the Torah does not say that. Yerushalayim, where Mt. Moriah is located, was never called Luz. There is only one Bethel in the Promised Land.
Why did Abraham the nomadic “father of faith” pay so much for a tomb for his wife Sarah? What’s the connection between Abraham’s and King David’s picking a certain son as the successor over other, older sons? Are does the symbol of a well in the account of Yitzkhak marrying Rivkah and in Yeshua’s encounter with the Samaritan woman teach us about the Mashiakh’s work of bringing new life out of death? These are questions tackled in this discussion of the Torah portion חיי שרה Chayei Sarah (“life of Sarah”), covering Genesis 23-25.
Do we trust God in His promises? We can come up with all sorts of ideas about God. But if we don’t really trust Him and His leading, why bother following? These are questions tackled in this discussion on the Torah portion וירא Vayera (“and He appeared”), covering Genesis 18-22. Abraham is shown to have trust issues up to his great test of faith. At that point, he sees something. This passage is all about the Promised One — the Mashiakh (Messiah) — represented by Abraham’s son Yitzkhak (Isaac).