There is a commandment given to Israel that once every 7 years, during the Festival of Sukkot, they should assemble ALL the people to hear the Torah read to them. (Deuteronomy 31:10-12). Chazal (a Hebrew acronym that means, “our sages of blessed memory”) instituted a continuous cycle of reading the Torah. They defined weekly sections so that Jews would be reading and hearing Torah every single week and complete the 5 Books of Moses in a set time. The teachers I learned under taught me to follow the yearly Torah cycle and I discovered that Chabad divides their Torah study into daily aliyot. When the Torah portion is read in its entirety on Shabbat in the synagogue, there are seven sections, seven aliyot. The Chabad tradition is to study one aliyah each day, starting Sunday and going through to Shabbat. One who does this can get a double dose of the same Torah Portion each week.
Additionally, the Ashkenazic and Sepharidc, that is Eastern European and Spanish or Iberian Peninsula communities sometime differ on how they divide the Torah Portions.
The focus of this “Aliyah by Aliyah” will be the second aliyah of the Torah Portion: Chayei Sarah, Genesis 23:1–25:18
Aliyah 2 – Genesis 23:17-24:9
Genesis 23:17 Thus the field of ‘Efron in Makhpelah, which is by Mamre — the field, its cave and all the trees in and around it — were deeded
I wonder why we don’t get a more specific idea of the size of the field. Was it 1 acre, 10, 100?
Genesis 23:18 to Avraham as his possession in the presence of the sons of Het who belonged to the ruling council of the city.
This claim to the field of Makhpelah was certified and verified by several witnesses.
Genesis 23:19 Then Avraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Makhpelah, by Mamre, also known as Hevron, in the land of Kena‘an.
Chevron is where King David will begin his rule. The first fully legit king of Israel starts his reign in Chevron the first place acquired by Abraham in the Land of Israel.
Genesis 23:20 The field and its cave had been purchased by Avraham from the sons of Het as a burial-site which would belong to him.
Why is a burial site important?
Genesis 24:1 By now Avraham was old, advanced in years; and HaShem had blessed Avraham in everything.
B”H! What does blessed “in everything” mean?
Genesis 24:2 Avraham said to the servant who had served him the longest, who was in charge of all he owned, “Put your hand under my thigh;
The commentarry says this has to do with the thigh being close to the place of the circumcission and that an extension of this practice is making an oath while holding a Torah scroll, Bible, or other object that is used in performing a mitzvah.
Genesis 24:3 because I want you to swear by HaShem, G-d of heaven and G-d of the earth, that you will not choose a wife for my son from among the women of the Kena‘ani, among whom I am living;
The Canaanites are a cursed people, doomed to be driven from the Land of Israel by the People of Israel, it makes sense then, that Israel would be prohibited from mixing in with them. See GEN 9:25
Genesis 24:4 but that you will go to my homeland, to my kinsmen, to choose a wife for my son Yitz’chak.”
Abraham married his kinswoman and he wants the same for his son.
Genesis 24:5 The servant replied, “Suppose the woman isn’t willing to follow me to this land. Must I then bring your son back to the land from which you came?”
It is reasonable that a young maiden, especially one who will make a worthy bride for Isaac may not want to leave her family to go with a strange man in a strange land.
Genesis 24:6 Avraham said to him, “See to it that you don’t bring my son back there.
Why must Isaac stay in Israel?
Genesis 24:7 HaShem, the G-d of heaven — who took me away from my father’s house and away from the land I was born in, who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘I will give this land to your descendants’ — he will send his angel ahead of you; and you are to bring a wife for my son from there.
I believe this is a statement of faith and trust that the LORD will bring this marriage match to pass as part of the Covenant with Abraham.
Genesis 24:8 But if the woman is unwilling to follow you, then you are released from your obligation under my oath. Just don’t bring my son back there.”
Is this contradicting Abraham’s faith or is it a statement to build confidence in the servant?
Genesis 24:9 The servant put his hand under the thigh of Avraham his master and swore to him concerning the matter.
Before I go, I want to answer questions raised at the beginning of this session. These are my opinions, based on my time studying under various teachers and while I try to set aside any commentaries while examining each aliyah, I will allow myself to bring some back in for this section. I will disclose where I am getting these ideas where relevant.
1. Why does Sarah’s grave matter?
2. Why must Isaac stay in Israel?
3. Who is the servant of Abraham?
That concludes my journey through Chayei Sarah for the year 5783.
I hope these words have been a blessing to you.
May our Heavenly Father give you peace and joy.
This is Matthew and I am Walking In Liberty.