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עשה תורתך קבע – אמור מעט ועשה הרבה

Chayei Sarah – A Story of How We Ought to Be.

Posted by rabbiart on November 9, 2012

Some say “The Torah is a Commentary on the World, and The World is a Commentary on the Torah”.  I like to say that the Torah tells two stories.  It tells the story of who we are, and the story of who we ought to be. Fresh in my mind is the invitation to visit my new friend Abeer’s family and village not too far north of Hebron.  Also in my mind is the recent U.S. election and the period of intense negotiation that our elected leaders will hopefully engage in during the coming months to address some of the pressing problems of our country.

Negotiation is in the air.

So of course this week’s Torah portion – Chaye Sarah – opens with a negotiation story that takes place in and around Hebron.  Could it possibly be any other way? This is the Torah showing us how we should be. Avraham acts humbly, the Hittites ask generously, Avraham responds by insisting on fair payment, and after a general reverse tug of war, the deal is settled and Avraham buries Sarah.

Having settled his past, as it were, with the burial of his wife, Avraham now turns his attention toward insuring the future.  He arranges to get a wife for his beloved son Isaac.

We get a foreshadowing of a different dynamic when Rivka’s brother Lavan is mentioned, especially since we have read the Torah bebore. But conveniently, the parsha ends just before we begin reading the full episode that tells us – warts and all – a story of who we are, and very much not how we should be.

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