Summary of Parshat "Chayei Sarah"
Parshat Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:125:18) begins with Sarah's death at the age of 127 and Abraham's search for a proper burial place which would be worthy of her greatness. Abraham refuses to accept the generous offer of Ephron (a member of the Chittite nation which lived in the land of Israel) to give him M'arat HaMachpelah in the city of Chevron at no charge, and Abraham ends up paying an extremely large sum of money for the plot, at which point he finally buries his beloved wife. Abraham sends his faithful servant Eliezer back to Abraham's homeland and family to find a suitable wife for Isaac. Upon his arrival in Aram Naharaim, Eliezer devises a plan by which he will be able to select a modest, generous, and kind girl fitting for his master's son. Eliezer prays to Hashem that He grant him success in his mission by causing his plan to work, and he decides to stand by the town's well, waiting for a girl to offer him and his camels water to drink. Such a person who would take the trouble to draw water for a stranger and his ten camels, acting above and beyond the call of duty, would certainly be of great character. Sure enough, Rebecca proves herself to be equal to the test, and after receiving gifts sent by Abraham, she brings Eliezer to her father's house. Eliezer recounts the day's events to her family and asks for Rebecca to return with him to marry Isaac. She accepts, and they are married. With Abraham's role as father of the Jewish people complete and the mantle of leadership passed on to the next generation, the portion concludes with a brief genealogy of Abraham's other children from his wife Keturah (who many commentaries say is really Hagar) and his death at the age of 175.
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