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A collection of excerpts from Torah Club on the weekly Torah Portions, from Genesis to Deuteronomy.
Chayei SarahRead / Listen to Portion
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How do you know when you have found your soul mate? And what exactly is a soul mate? The idea is that each individual has one other person, somewhere out there, who is his or her preordained, perfect match. A person’s soul mate is the ideal complement to fulfill his or her physical, spiritual and psychological needs.
The Bible has a sober view of marriage. Isaac did not marry Rebekah because he loved her; he loved Rebekah because he married her. Considering the folly of the human heart and the fickle ups and downs of emotions, this is the proper order of things. We should love our spouses because they are our spouses.
As we go forth to proclaim the good news, we bring the good things from the household of God. Many people have never experienced unconditional love. They have never known real kindness, real friendship, real compassion. These are things we can pass on to others, but only if we bring them with us.
Some rabbis read the story of Isaac and Rebekah as an allegory about God and the Jewish people. The prophets often describe the relationship between the LORD and His people as that of a husband to a wife. In view of this metaphor, the death of Sarah can be compared to the exile—her empty tent can be compared to Jerusalem. The mission to bring Rebekah out of Aram and into the promised land can be compared to the final redemption when the Messiah will gather the exiles of Israel and lead them to the land. “For as a young man marries a virgin … and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,” the LORD will rejoice over Zion in the final redemption (Isaiah 62:5).
Christians pray “in Jesus name” because that is how our Master taught us to pray. Yeshua said to the disciples, “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full” (John 16:24). The typical, Protestant, extemporaneous prayer concludes with the formulaic ending “in Jesus’ name” as if it meant “signing off, over and out.” Prayer in Jesus’ name has a far richer meaning. When we pray in His name, we remind the Father of His chesed toward the Son, and we remind Him that we are associated with the Son. We ask to be answered not on our own merit, but on His merit.
Though Abraham and Sarah could only glimpse it as if from a distance, and even then, only through the eyes of faith, that glimpse of the Messianic Era and the New Jerusalem of the world to come made this current world and all it had to offer pale in comparison. Abraham identified himself as a citizen of the future kingdom and city. As to this present world and all it had to offer, he said, “I am a stranger and a sojourner among you.” Therefore, God was not ashamed to be called the God of Abraham.
Peter states that this is how the holy women of the past, such as Sarah, used to adorn themselves, and he reminds us that we "have become her children" (1 Peter 3:6). Sarah knew the difference between inside and outside, between private and public. Her beauty radiated out from the hidden person within her heart.