Category Archives: Chayei Sara

Parshat Chayei Sara

In this week’s Parsha, a tremendous amount of real estate – 67 Psukim! –  is spent on Avraham’s servant Eliezer and his journey to find a bride for Yitzchak.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe has a beautiful vort on this episode. He points out that the first marriage in the Torah is  Adam to Eve. “Theirs, of course, was a marriage wholly made in Heaven: G‑d Himself created the bride, perfumed and bejeweled her, and presented her to the groom,” says Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

The story of Avraham’s servant Eliezer’s search for a wife for Yitzchak (Rivkah) however, represents the first time that the Torah relates a marriage that is the result of human endeavor.  The Torah details the story of the Shidduch (match) which involves very familiar elements of a traditional match; a matchmaker (Eliezer), assessment of the bride’s character, her family background, and the dowry negotiations.

The Rebbe points out that the Torah is often economical in its wording. A single word can be the source for myriad laws and guidelines. The lavish attention to detail in this story however, with its unusual repetition (Eliezer re-telling the story to Rivkah’s parents) offers an important guide to our own approach to marriage, as the Rebbe points out “both in the conventional sense as the union of two human beings, and in the cosmic sense as the relationship between G‑d and man.”

For this week’s recipe, I drew (!) on Eliezer’s test for a bride of character – at the well. He davens to Hashem that if he asks the right girl for water she’ll immediately offer to feed his camels too. Rivkah appeared immediately. The recipe? Water!

Bereishit 24:14 And it will be, [that] the maiden to whom I will say, 'Lower your pitcher and I will drink,' and she will say, 'Drink, and I will also water your camels,' her have You designated for Your servant, for Isaac, and through her may I know that You have performed loving kindness with my master."

Bereishit 24:14 And it will be, [that] the maiden to whom I will say, ‘Lower your pitcher and I will drink,’ and she will say, ‘Drink, and I will also water your camels,’ her have You designated for Your servant, for Isaac, and through her may I know that You have performed loving kindness with my master.”

Bereishit 24: 13 Behold, I am standing by the water fountain, and the daughters of the city are coming out to draw water.

Bereishit 24: 13 Behold, I am standing by the water fountain, and the daughters of the city are coming out to draw water.

Water Infusions:

For the first combination I used one lime, one clementine and a sprig of mint. Use a wooden spoon to ‘grind’ it a bit on the bottom of the pitcher in order to release the flavours.

For the second combination is used five strawberries, half a lemon, and a sprig of mint, grinding some of the fruit to release the flavours.

Add ice cubes. Be creative. Add rosemary, cucumbers, grapefruit, or whatever catches your fancy. 

Enjoy!

B’tayavon and have a great Shabbos.

 

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Parshat Chayei Sarah

This week’s Parsha offers the story of Avraham’s servant Eliyahu searching for a ‘shidduch’ for Yitzchak. Eliezer asks God for a sign that Yitzchak’s intended should display chessed by offering him to drink. As soon as Elizer arrives in Nachor, he immediately meets Rivka, whose kindness and modesty goes above and beyond his test. They return to Rivka’s house and by the next morning, the deal is sealed and he begins his journey with Rivka back to Avraham.

The story is not a long one but is told in tremendous detail – 67 p’sukim to be exact. Chazal were puzzled by the amount of space devoted to this interaction, given that the wording of the Torah is usually so economical. One of the answers is found in Breishit Rabbah 60:

The conversation of the patriarch’s servants is superior to the Torah of the descendants” 

That poses a further question though. Is the everyday conversation of the Avot actually more significant than the Torah and its law? Rav Kook answers this.

These ‘conversations’ of the Avot (patriarchs) were also a form of Torah. This Torah was more elevated than the later Torah of their descendants, as it reflected the extraordinary holiness and nobility of these spiritual giants. Rav Kook explains that the reason Chazal referred to their words as ‘conversations’ was because that’s a term that refers to natural speech. He writes that

“the Torah of the Avot was like a conversation, flowing naturally from the inner sanctity of their lives and aspirations. Holy ideals permeated the day-to-day world of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to such a degree that these ideals were manifest even in the everyday discourse of their servants.”

The Torah of their descendants, on the other hand, lacks this natural spontaneity. It is a more conscious process that’s dependent on law to control all aspects of our lives. So the words and deeds of the Avot and Imahot are like living Torah, inspirational, and beloved by Hashem.

This week’s recipe is related to Eliezer’s deed in relation to negotiating for Rivkah’s hand in marriage. It says in Genesis  24:53. And the servant took out silver articles and golden articles and garments, and he gave [them] to Rebecca, and he gave delicacies to her brother and to her mother.

This was clearly a disappointment to Lavan, Rivkah’s brother. According to Rashi these delicacies refer to sweet fruits (מְגָדִים), that Eliezer had brought with him from the Land of Israel.

Since the most well-known fruit export from Israel is the orange I’ve chosen a recipe incorporating oranges.

Genesis 24:53 And the servant took out silver articles and golden articles and garments, and he gave them to Rivka, and he gave delicacies (fruit) to her brother and to her mother.

Citrus Spinach Salad

  • spinach
  • red onion, sliced
  • sliced oranges or canned mandarins
  • handful of soy nuts

Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons Dijon salad
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix and dress salad right before serving.

B’tayavon and have a great Shabbos!

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