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Bereisheit Limood

Genesis Twenty-four and A Half

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Keturah's Faithfulness - 24 / 5


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By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

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B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC

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Genesis Twenty-four and A Half


Keturah's Faithfulness


Genesis 25 begins with Abraham taking back his former wife Hagar whose name was changed to Keturah meaning beautiful.


Genesis 25.1

Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. 


We need to back up a little...


How did it feel to Hagar and to Yishmael to learn that the daughter of an Egyptian princess', i.e. Hagar and her son would not inherit Avraham's great wealth and power? Ha Torah does not inform us of what Hagar thought when she learned that Sarah would have a son.


Genesis 17.21

But My covenant will I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time in the next year.


That day Abraham and Sarah connected. Sarah became pregnant. Sarah carried Isaac for Seven months. She gave birth on Passover. So Genesis 21.1 informs us of Sarah's impregnation. Verse 2 informs us of Isaac's birth. Verse 2 informs us that The Lord God Kept His Promise that Abraham and Sarah would have children as written in Genesis 15.1 - 5 and 18.10 - 14.


Genesis 21.8 - 14

And the child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had born to Abraham, mocking. And she said to Abraham, Cast out this slave and her son; for the son of this slave shall not be heir with my son, with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. And God said to Abraham, Let it not be grievous in your sight because of the lad, and because of your slave; in all that Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac shall your seed be called. And also of the son of the slave will I make a nation because he is your seed. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away; and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.


Hagar struggled with her relationship with Sarah. It was challenging to be taken from the place in Egypt and to be given to a wealthy nomad's wife to be her slave. After Ten years, Sarah did not give en Avraham children so according to the system of the land she gave her husband a new wife, Hagar. Hagar conceives soon after the marriage. Sarah realizes that it is her that cannot conceive. Sarah is hurt and angry.  Hagar taunts her pregnancy in front of Sarah. Their Master Servant relationship detritus. Hagar runs away then returns after divine revelation. The stress between them comes to a halt when Dismal throws javelins around Yitzchok when he is playing. Sarah demands that Hagar and Dismal be removed. Sarah said to Avraham, 'Cast out this slave and her son; for the son of this slave shall not be heir with my son, with Isaac..'


When Avraham sent Hagar out with nothing more than a loaf of bread and a pouch of water. Avraham could have provided much more for Hagar and Yishmael, but he choose not too. He could have given them camels and servants.  He could have provided them with a lovely place to live.  Why?


Even though for awhile Hagar lost her way she quickly found it.  As a wife to Avraham, she remained isolated from other men. She learned Ha Torah. She Observed the Mitzvot of Ha Torah. She sent Yishmael back to Avraham where he learned Ha Torah and became an honorable attendant in Avraham's home. Avraham instructed Yishmael along side Eliezer.  In Genesis 22.3 - 5 we Observe Avraham instructing them with these Words, 'Stay here with the ass, and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come back to you.'


How do we know that Avraham instructed both Yitzchok and Yishmael?


Genesis 18.19

For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he has spoken of him.


Ha Torah does not say, child. Ha Torah Says children. This means more than one child. Eliezer was part of Avraham's household that received instruction in Ha Torah.


Abraham kept the way of the Lord. 

This means Abraham guarded the Observances in The Holy Scriptures. There are 613 Observances in The Holy Scriptures. Not all apply to each of us. Abraham kept those that applied to him. He carefully followed what The Lord God Commanded. He was meticulous with the Observances that applied to him.. Abraham was just. He was honest. He judged situations fairly. He did not deviate. He stayed on the path of The Lord.  He did not wander or stray. He taught his children and those living with him to follow the Observances that applied to them. Following the Observances worked for Abraham. Following the Observances will also work for us. First we must learn what the Observances are and then which apply to us individually. 



This was about 37 years from when Hagar and Dismal were put out.


We pick up the story with Genesis 22.


Genesis 22

And it happened after these events, that God Tested Abraham, and He Said to him. 'Abraham!'


and Abraham responded, 'Here I am.' 


and He Said to him, 'Take your son.'


and Abraham said I have two sons,


and God Said, 'your only son,'


and Abraham said 'Yishmael is an only son to Hagar and Isaac is an only son to Sarah.'


and God Said, 'the one whom you love.'

 

and Abraham said, 'I love Yishmael, and I love Yitzchok.'


and God Said, 'take Yitzchok and go to the land of Moriah sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I will designate to you.'


Dear Reader, Abraham had many scars. He bled some. He was tried and proven. Abraham remained strong. How many of us can say when we have been tried we remained strong? 


How Did Abraham do this? It's not complicated. Abraham loved and worshiped the Creator. Abraham Obeyed the Creator.  


Genesis 22.3 - 5

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and broke the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place far away. And Abraham said to his young men, Stay here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come back to you. 


Our Sages Teach that Sarah died when she was informed that Abraham Sacrificed her son Isaac. Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz and Rabbi Nosson Scherman, The Artscroll Tanach Series - Bereishis Vol. I(a) (Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 3rd Impression, 1989), p 861


Sarah died from the shock that Abraham offered her only child as a sacrifice. How could he do this? Why would he do such a thing? Sarah died without knowing Isaac was saved by a Messenger of The Lord. Sarah died without seeing Isaac marry. Sarah died thinking her life had been for not. Sarah did not meet Rivkah her daughter-in-law to be. Sarah did not have the privilege of dancing at Isaac's wedding. Sarah did not enjoy her grandchildren. Sarah died at the age of 127 years. She did not live to realize the fulfillment of many of her dreams.  This is how death is. When one dies, one cannot complete their plans.


Now Avraham 'Again' takes a wife. As we shall learn in Genesis 25 taking a wife again was in reference to Keturah. Hagar became a seriously observant woman with an excellent reputation. Hagar's Torah Observance was so great the community called her ketubah meaning one who is beautiful. This was a complement toKeturah from among the community regarding her Torah Observance. 


We can use this example of the struggle between Sarah and Hagar and Yishmael and Yitzchok as a guide to family members who have been mean and who have rejected us. Notice how Hagar became beautiful. Notice how Yishmael the older brother honored Yitzchok. Notice how Yishmael set aside his honor for Yitzchok. Both Keturah and Dismal were humble and contrite. Both were invited back to be apart of Avraham's live and live in him home.  When individuals reverse improper actions such as Hagar and Yishmael did they should be invited back.  They should be welcomed with open arms. 


On the other hand when relatives continue in the same deceitful pattern and using the same mean tactics as in the past they cannot be welcomed back. They remain bogged down with the same issues as in the past.  Nothing has changed except time.

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Bereisheit Limood Chapter 24

Genesis 24.1 - 67

Bereisheit Limood Video

The Blessing Of Abraham - 24


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By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Dean of Jewish Studies

B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC

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Genesis 24


The Blessing Of Abraham


Of all the Chapters in Ha Torah, The Holy Scriptures Genesis Chapter 24 is perhaps my favorite. Chapter 24 follows Abraham's offering of Issac and the death of his beloved wife Sarah.  Abraham was a very important man. He cast a huge shadow. We observe the intoxicating presence of Abraham Chapter by Chapter.  He was very powerful. Yet, Abraham was a humble man. He was a kind man, a loving man, a caring man. He was a war tried veteran. He was a seasoned politician. He was an influential man. He was careful. He was the husband of two wives. At this time he was the father of two sons and a few years later many sons. He was a widower. He was extremely wealthy.  Abraham was an astrologer. And most important of all Abraham had an awareness of The Lord God beyond what we can imagine. Abraham's faith in the Lord God is a beacon of light for each of us. Abraham's devotion to the Lord God is unparalleled. His obedience to The Instruction and direction of The Lord God is  unapproachable. Abraham believed The Lord God. Abraham was a Novie / a Prophet. Yet His Wife Sarah was greater.  Abraham had the qualities of a Patriarch. Sarah had the qualities of a Matriarch. Soon Abraham would learn Sarah was gone. However, now, Abraham turned his attention to Isaac.


As Abraham and Isaac journey from their  experiences on Mount Moriah among the things that occur to Abraham was the  thought if Isaac had of died on Mount Moriah he would not have fulfilled the Mitzvah / the Observance of having children. It is God's Desire for us to father and mother children. The awareness of Isaac dying without children was interrupted by a revelation from the Lord God recorded in Genesis 21.20 - 24. The Lord God Informed Abraham that Isaac's Berschert, i.e. His God appointed mate Rebekah was born to his Brother, Nachor's eighth son Bethuel. Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz and Rabbi Nosson Scherman, The Artscroll Tanach Series - Bereishis Vol. I(a) (Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 3rd Impression, 1989), p 817.

At this time Abraham was 137 years of age, Sarah was 127 years of age. Issac was 37 years of age. Abraham was ten years older than Sarah.


Abraham was one hundred years of age when Isaac was born.


Genesis 21.5

And Abraham was a hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born to him. 


In Chapter 23 we learned that Sarah died at 127 years of age.


Another area Abraham contemplated on as he and Isaac departed Mount Moriah was how he and Isaac looked like identical twins. Abraham was youthful. Up until this time people did not show or experience aging. All humans were youthful. The human body did not show age. Humans did not experience age as we know it today. Up until Abraham there was no old age, i.e. age did not mark a person. There were no wrinkles. There was no gray hair. The body did not experience the aches and pains of aging. Bones were not hard and brittle. The body remained youthful. Whoever wished to speak to Abraham would speak to Isaac, and the reverse would happen. Why because sons were identical looking as their fathers. Daughters were identical looking as their  mothers. Then Abraham prayed for distinction among people and old age came into existence, as it is written, 'And Abraham was old and well-stricken in age.' Bava Metzia 87a


As we begin Genesis 24 we are going to move away from discussing Isaac for a few pages to discuss Abraham's great and vast wealth.


Abraham Was Blessed As He Departed Haran.


Abram had substance and servants.


Bereisheit 24.1

אַבְרָהָם זָקֵן בָּא בַּיָּמִים וַיהוָֹה בֵּרַךְ אֶת־אַבְרָהָם בַּכֹּל:  ב


Genesis 24.1

Abraham was an Elder with many days and The Lord Blessed Everything from Aleph to Tav of Abraham in everything.


At this point in Abraham was only 140 years of age. He would live another 35 years. Is it strange for this statement to be located in this place?  Perhaps it is. Yet there is a purpose for everything. In Chapter 24 we are provided the opportunity to view a few weeks in Abraham's life.


Dear Reader, Chapter 24 follows with many,  many examples how HaShem Blessed Abraham in everything. The Gematria of  וַיהוָֹה בֵּרַךְ  Vah HaShem Bay Rahk meaning And The Lord Blessed is the Gematria 254. דְּרָכֶיךָ Dih Raw Kheh Chaw neaning in your way is also the Gematria 254.


וַיהוָֹה בֵּרַךְ  

Vah HaShem Bay Rahk

And The Lord Blessed

ו6 י10 ה5 ו6 ה5     ב2 ר200 ך20 = 254


דְּרָכֶיךָ 

Dih Raw Kheh Chaw

ד4 ר200 כ20 י10 ך20  =  254



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Bereisheit Limood Chapter 23

Genesis 23.1 - 20

Bereisheit Limood Video

Chayei Sarah's Death - 23


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By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Dean of Jewish Studies

B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC

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Genesis 23


Chayei Sarah's Death


Our Sages Teach that Sarah died when she was informed that Abraham Sacrificed her son Isaac. Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz and Rabbi Nosson Scherman, The Artscroll Tanach Series - Bereishis Vol. I(a) (Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 3rd Impression, 1989), p 861


Sarah died from the shock that Abraham offered her only child as a sacrifice. How could he do this? Why would he do such a thing? Sarah died without knowing Isaac was saved by a Messenger of The Lord. Sarah died without seeing Isaac marry. Sarah died thinking her life had been for not. Sarah did not meet Rivkah her daughter-in-law to be. Sarah did not have the privilege of dancing at Isaac's wedding. Sarah did not enjoy her grandchildren. Sarah died at the age of 127 years. She did not live to realize the fulfillment of many of her dreams.  This is how death is. When one dies one cannot complete their plans.


My Mother of blessed memory realized a short time before she died that she would not live to see the fulfillment of all her dreams. We spoke shortly before Momma entered eternity. Mother shared with me somewhat like Jacob shared with his sons before he entered the next life. Momma was busy about setting everything right. She wrote letters. She asked forgiveness of any individual she perhaps may have hurt. At that time, in my eyes she went way overboard to make sure her slate was very clean. My Mother was a very Holy Woman. She would grieve over her mistakes like few I have known. Mother took living righteously very seriously. Mother had an awareness she would soon be entering the next life soon. She checked and rechecked. She reviewed and reviewed her past. She wanted to enter the next life entirely righteous before her Maker. Many have been taken into the next life without notice. Many did not have the opportunity Momma had.


The other day I was speaking with a friend who works at a Senior's Center. She was sharing with me and another individual of folks who left home in the morning and did not return. Their life was snuffed out by...


So we are discussing death, yet our focus is on what Sarah went through to have this miracle baby, Issac that she only enjoyed for 37 years. In Chapter 21 we read of The Lord God Giving Abraham the promise of a son. We read that his names was to be Yitzchok, Isaac. 


We read that The Lord God would continue the Covenant of Abraham with his son Isaac.  So if you are Sarah and you just received really bad news, Isaac was sacrificed. How would you feel? What would run through your mind? Would you be angry with Abraham? Would you also be angry with The Lord God for giving you a precious child then taking him away? What about the covenant Promised by The Lord God? Would you question, what happened to the promise that Isaac would receive the Covenant of Abraham? How would that happen now? Sarah experienced being the captive of two very powerful men, the king of Egypt and the king of Gerar. She was the good wife. She left here family behind. She traveled with Abraham. She gave Hagar to Abraham to have a son by her because up until then she was ninety, she could not have children. Then after Isaac was born and grew Yishmael and Isaac were seen in a field quarreling over who should receive the double portion set aside for the firstborn. Ishmael was the firstborn of Hagar. Isaac was the firstborn of Sarah. Yishmael made sport of Isaac by shooting arrows around him. This is when Sarah informed Abraham that the son of the slave woman would not inherit with her son Isaac. This is when Yishmael and Hagar were sent out by Abraham in Genesis 21.9 - 14. Rabbi Avrohom Davis, The Mesudah Chumash A New Linear Translation Bereishis (Hoboken New Jersey, KTVA Publishing House, Inc., 1991) p 220


We see how Sarah kept a close eye on her son. We see that Sarah was protective of her only son, her hope of the future. Then this happens. Abraham takes Isaac to Mount Moriah to offer as a sacrifice. Hearing the lie that Isaac was dead was an awful blow. She was so devastated that she died upon hearing this awful news...

One morning many years ago on September 2nd I came downstairs from my bedroom to the kitchen on the main floor for breakfast. My Mother was crying. I was young and felt so sad to see my Mother crying. I inquired. What is a matter? My mother said today is your brother Donald Wayne's birthday. There was no comforting my Mother. My Brother, Donald Wayne passed away at the age of 2 months and 17 days old on December 2nd 1938. He died from pneumonia. May he rest in peace. Each February 21st my mother would cry for my brother Gary Lee may he rest in peace.  Seeing my Momma cry and hurt so much at such a young age was very difficult. Mother ALWAYS remembered the birth dates and Yahrzites / Death Anniversary of my brothers. It was always painful and tearful. There was no relief for my Mother on these days. My Father, may he rest in peace moved on. He could not understand my Mother mourning the deaths of her two sons. Revi mourns the death of her daughter Carrie, may she rest in peace. And like my Mother, several days leading up to Carrie's death Revi cries. Like my Mother Revi cannot be comforted. Revi has shared with me the connection she felt with her children from conception. A Mother feels the baby move, sleep and kick inside her. A mother feels the birth and feeding pains. Can we imagine what it is like for a mother whose children die before them? Can we imagine the hurt and suffering and tears? 


Our Matriarch Sarah went through so much to get to the  birth of Isaac that the news of his death, even though it was a lie, killed her. Sarah's heart broke in two. She died. Sarah lived a life of Holiness. She was prepared to enter the next life when called home. Yet, that does not mean Sarah wanted to leave Abraham and Isaac. Death is sad. Death does bring sadness. I look at my Mother as a lady like Sarah.



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