This parashah begins with the death of Sarah. Abraham buys the field and cave in Machpelah, known today as Hebron, and buries Sarah there. This is the burial place of all three patriarchs and their wives, except for Rachel who was buried elsewhere when Jacob was returning to Canaan.
If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.
Abraham is now old and decides it is time for Isaac to marry, so he sends his servant, Eliazer, back to Haran to find a wife from Abraham’s family still living there. Eliazer comes to a well and prays for God to send the proper woman for Isaac, asking that a sign be given for Eliazer to know. Rebekah comes to fetch water and when Eliazer asks her for a drink, she lowers her jar to let him drink and offers to water his camels, as well. This was the sign asked for, so Eliazer asks her who’s family she is from and when she says she is the daughter of Abraham’s nephew, he gives her some jewelry. She runs home to tell her father and her brother, Laban, seeing the goodies runs out to fetch Eliazer and bring him home to be fed and rested.
Eliazer refuses food until he has stated why he is there, and after hearing the entire story, the family agrees to let Rebekah marry Isaac.
Eliazer hurries her back, and when Isaac sees Rebekah he immediately consummates the marriage and sets her up in his mother’s tent as his wife.
We are told that Abraham took another wife and had a number of sons through her, all of whom were given gifts and money, but then were all sent on their own way; only Isaac received all that Abraham owned. Abraham dies and he is buried by Isaac and Ishmael; we are then told of the lineage of Ishmael and his death.
This is where the parashah ends.
I was reading the commentary on this parashah in my Chumash, and when it came to the verses about Isaac setting Rebekah up in his mother’s tent, it mentioned that he installed her as mistress of the house. More than that, though, it also said that she filled the gap in his life caused by the death of his mother, which also stopped the household from receiving the blessings they had received before. When Rebekah reinitiated the ceremonies and rituals that Sarah had done, the blessings of the household returned.
Time for a quick story that will lead us into today’s message…when I was visiting Israel, the guide (who was great) told us the biblical stories that were associated with the parts of Israel we were visiting. One thing he did, which is standard for Orthodox Jews, was to tell us not just the biblical history but to interject the Talmudic stories, as well, as if they and the Torah were one and the same.
I, respectfully (of course), kept interrupting him and pointing out that what he was saying was not in the Tanakh but in the Talmud. This was for the benefit of the Christians on the tour with me (believe it or not, there were 22 of us and I was the only Jew) because, as sad as it seems, most Christians do not know the Torah and cannot identify what is in the Bible and what is rabbinic commentary from the Talmud.
And that brings us to today’s message, one which I have stated over and over, and will never stop saying: You MUST know the entire Bible.
When reading the commentaries in the Chumash you must remember that you are reading from a Talmudic/rabbinic/anti-Christian viewpoint. Yes, I said anti-Christian and I meant it because traditional Judaism wants absolutely nothing at all to do with Christianity and some of what you read in the Chumash commentary, especially regarding messianic passages, will not be very friendly towards Christianity. Despite this, though, I do recommend having and reading a Chumash because it will give one tremendous insight into the Jewish mindset.
When I read this commentary, about Rebekah reinstituting the religious rites that Sarah had been doing, I just couldn’t help asking myself, “Growing up in Nahor’s household, which we know had household gods (Genesis 31), it is apparent that Nahor didn’t have the same beliefs that Abraham did, so where did Rebekah learn about the religious duties of the wife?”
There has been no mention of any part of Nahor’s life or the lives of his children in the Torah passages, except at the very end of the previous parashah (Genesis 22:20-24) where we are given a report of the fact that he had children.
I enjoy hearing the rabbinic stories, but I am concerned that so many Jews, and especially Christians, who do not really know the Tanakh will accept these fables as fact. The only facts are what we read in the Tanakh, and not what some rabbi, at some time, somewhere decided fits into the storyline.
In my opinion, many of the Talmudic stories are there to make the Torah story sound a little better.
The Talmud is called the Oral Law, and it is supposedly the many laws and regulations that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai that Moses did not write down, but passed down orally through Joshua, et.al. That being said, the Talmud does fill in the gaps, so to speak, where the Torah seems to be missing important information.
For example, we are told which animals are to be used for the sacrifice and also that we must treat animals humanely, but there is nothing in the Torah about how to humanely kill the animal for the sacrifice. Well, the Talmud tells us about the Shechitah, which is a humane and nearly painless way to kill the animal.
There are other things in the Talmud, though, that border on mysticism and mythology, such as the stories of the Golem and even a reference to Lilith, a she-demon of Jewish mythology but also referred to as the first wife of Adam. Clearly, these are not biblical and should not be considered factual, but within Judaism, they are accepted as real as the other people mentioned in the Tanakh.
Having talked about the Talmud and how it can misguide us, let’s not forget about all the Christian religions which have also misguided people by adding their own “spin” to what is in the New Covenant writings. For instance, the idea that once saved, you are always saved or that Yeshua did away with all the laws in the Torah. Another one, which I believe to be the most sinful of all traditional Christian teachings (thankfully, most Christians don’t buy this one) is Replacement Theology, which says the Jews (for having rejected Yeshua) have been rejected and cursed by God and that the Born Again Christians are now the true chosen people of God.
In the Torah, God told us how to worship him and how to treat each other; the rest of the Bible is a historical narrative showing not just how we all came to be, but how God has always kept his promises and guided us into righteousness. It is imperative that you know what God says and what religion says because they are so often, so different.
It is up to you to know the difference between what God has dictated to be the way you should worship and live, and what some religion tells you is how you should worship and live, because as sad as it is, there are way too many things they disagree on.
You will be judged not on what your religion tells you is right, but on what God says is right, so make sure you know the difference before you choose because your eternal life depends on it.
Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know, subscribe to both my YouTube channel and my website, and remember that I always welcome your comments.
If you are interested in the different lies about the Messiah within both Judaism and Christianity, then get my latest book, “The Good News About the Messiah for Jews, Debunking the Traditional Lies About the Jewish Messiah.”
That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!