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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.

Who is My Soul Mate? 5

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Bereisheit Chayei Sarah

Genesis 23.1 - 25.18

Who Is My Soul Mate? 5


A Taste Of Torah

Weekly VIDEO Gematria Parshat


By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Dean of Jewish Studies

B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC

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Course Study Begins Here:


Bereisheit 25.1

וַיֹּסֶף אַבְרָהָם וַיִּקַּח אִשָּׁה

וּשְׁמָהּ קְטוּרָה: ב


Genesis 25.1

And He, Avraham again took his wife and her name was Keturah.


Our Sages Teach that Avraham took Hagar whose name was changed to Keturah because here deeds were as beautiful / spiritual as קְטֹרֶת incense. Incense rises to the Heavens like one's Spirit. The root for קטר means incense, smoke and to shut one's self in, to enclose. Because of Hagar's attitude she became known as Keturah, the lady with a Spirit like incense or the lady who secluded herself to remain true to her husband. Keturah was was well thought of because she did not seek a divorce from Avraham. And Avraham did not grant Hagar a divorce. The Torah Portion of the Bible Says, וַיְשַׁלְּחֶהָ Vah Yih Shah Lih Cheh Caw, meaning 'And he sent her away.' Hagar was lost without her husband, Avraham. Ha Torah does NOT Say Avraham divorced Hagar. Sarah did not say to Avraham divorce Hagar. Sarah Said,


Genesis 21.10

[Sarah] Said to Avraham, 'Drive out this slave woman and everything from Aleph to Tav of her son for the son of this slave woman will not inherit with my son with Yitzchok.'


We have NO indication that Avraham divorced Hagar. Our Creator Said to Avraham,


Genesis 21.12

Elohim Said to Avraham, 'Do not consider this wrong in your eyes on account of the boy and your slave woman. Regarding all that Sarah tells you listen to her. For through Yitzchok will seed be considered yours.


The Gematria of וַיִּקַּח אִשָּׁה Vah Yee Kah Ach - Ee Shaw, meaning and he took is 430. The Gematria of נֶפֶשׁ Neh Pehsh / Nefesh meaning 'Soul' is 430. When one takes a wife Mystically we observe he is connecting with a soul. His wife is his Soulmate. How does one know He / she are soul mates? The fact is we are each from the same soul given to us by our Parents of Creation. Still the concept of one's SoulMate being the perfect one... the exact match... the correct fit... is correct. One must understand that perfection is received through marriage. Marriage is an institute where by the husband and wife help to polish the other into what our Creator Intends. The husband and wife work together to form a holy relationship to have a Holy Family with Holy children. The work together to be the single soul God Created them as.


וַיִּקַּח אִשָּׁה

Vah Yee Kah Ach - Ee Shaw, and he took

ו6 י10 ק100 ח8 - א1 ש300 ה5 = 430


נֶפֶשׁ

Neh Pehsh / Nefesh 'Soul'

נ50 פ80 ש300 = 430


Remember: THERE IS A CHOICE! A man or woman's intent is VERY IMPORTANT. The purpose of taking each other is NOT for just physical sexual pleasure. The Marriage relationship is intended by our Creator to be one of Holiness. Our Creator Blessed the marriage relationship. He did NOT Bless the one night sexual fling!!


Sarah was noted as Avram's Wife. This is an elevated place. Bereisheit 16.2

וַתִּקַּח שָׂרַי ׀ אֵשֶׁת אַבְרָם אֶת־הָגָר הַמִּצְרִית שִׁפְחָתָהּ מִקֵּץ עֶשֶׂר שָׁנִים לְשֶׁבֶת אַבְרָם בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן וַתִּתֵּן אֹתָהּ לְאַבְרָם אִישָׁהּ לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה: ד


Ha Torah Says, 'And Sarai, Avram's wife took... Why does Ha Torah inform us Sarai was Avram's wife? We already know this. Why not say Sarah took. Why was it necessary to point out Sarah was Avram's wife again? Ha Torah Informs us that Sarai took Hagar to be Avram's wife in Genesis 16.3.


אֵשֶׁת

[Avram's] Wife / His Wife

א1 ש300 ת400 = 701


שְׂאֵת

To Elevate... To Rise...

ש300 א1 ת400 = 701


For a Husband and Wife to reach the lofty Mystical place of being a SoulMate requires elevating the relationship. It requires raising the relationship. Being a 'SoulMate' is not physical. Being a 'SoulMate' is Spiritual!


We continue with several additional points of importance.


What did Avraham do?

וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אַבְרָהָם ׀ בַּבֹּקֶר He got up early in the morning. Whenever we see Avraham facing a great difficulty we observe these three Words, וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אַבְרָהָם ׀ בַּבֹּקֶר See Genesis 19.27; 21.14 and 22.3. The first Letter of each Word combined spells שֹׁאֵב Shoh Ayv, meaning to draw as in to draw strength or as in to draw water (Devarim 29.10) which Mystically means to draw strength from Ha Torah. Sending Yishmael and Hagar away was troubling for Avraham but he did it first thing in the morning. Watching Sedom burn was troubling for Avraham. He arose early in the morning with the hopes there were ten righteous in Sedom. Avraham counted, Lot, Lot's wife, Lot's two married daughters and their husbands, Lot's two daughters who were yet to consummate their marriage and their husbands, a total of 10. When Avraham saw the smoke from the fire it was troubling to him. He felt great anxiety. Avraham arose early to travel to the place where he would offer Yitzchok as an offering. Why? This was deeply troubling to him. וּבְצָרָה Voo Vih Tzraw Rawh, meaning 'And with trouble.' From this we learn that Avraham faced his troubles in the morning. Avraham would draw from the Wells of Torah for Strength. The morning was Avraham's time for prayer. Avraham would seek הָרַחֲמִים Haw Rah Chah Meem, meaning the Mercy [of The Lord]. The Gematria of שֹׁאֵב Shoh Ayv, meaning to draw {from the waters of Ha Torah] is 303. The Gematria of וּבְצָרָה Voo Vih Tzraw Rawh, meaning 'And with trouble.' is 303. The Gematria of הָרַחֲמִים Haw Rah Chah Meem, meaning the Mercy [of The Lord] is 303.


שֹׁאֵב

Shoh to draw {from the waters of Ha Torah]

ש300 א1 ב2 = 303


וּבְצָרָה

Voo Vih Tzraw Rawh, 'And with trouble.'

ו6 ב2 צ90 ר200 ה5 = 303


הָרַחֲמִים

Haw Rah Chah Meem, the Mercy [of The Lord]

ה5 ר200 ח8 מ40 י10 ם40 = 303


We have discussed how Avraham faced issues that deeply troubled him. Now lets return to considering what a SoulMate is. We have established that The Torah Portion of the Bible does not Say Avraham divorced Hagar. This means they remained married. They remained separated for 38 years. How do we know this? Yitzchok was weaned when Yishmael mocked him, Genesis 21.8 - 14. Our Sages Teach this was after 24 months which is the customary time for a child to suckle, Gittin 75b; Kesuvot 60b. Yitzchok was 40 years of age when he married Rivkah, Genesis 25.20. It was immediately after this Avraham again took his wife Hagar whose name became Keturah.


Bereisheit 25.1

וַיֹּסֶף אַבְרָהָם וַיִּקַּח אִשָּׁה

וּשְׁמָהּ קְטוּרָה: ב


Genesis 25.1

And He, Avraham again took his wife and her name was Keturah.


I understand אִשְׁתּוֹ is the Word for 'His Wife. Because אִשָּׁה is used the translation would normally would be 'Wife' or 'A Wife'. However Keturah was already Avraham's wife. Therefore this usage means something entirely different than what meets the eye. When Avraham married Hagar she was Sarah's Servant. Notice the Wording carefully!!


Bereisheit 16.2

וַתִּקַּח שָׂרַי ׀ אֵשֶׁת אַבְרָם אֶת־הָגָר הַמִּצְרִית שִׁפְחָתָהּ מִקֵּץ עֶשֶׂר שָׁנִים לְשֶׁבֶת אַבְרָם בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן וַתִּתֵּן אֹתָהּ לְאַבְרָם אִישָׁהּ לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה: ד

Ha Torah Says, 'And Sarai, Avram's wife took... Why does Ha Torah inform us Sarai was Avram's wife? We already know this. Why not say Sarah took. Why was it necessary to point out Sarah was Avram's wife again? Ha Torah Informs us that Sarai took Hagar to be Avram's wife in Genesis 16.3. In Genesis 25.1 Ha Torah Informs us that Avraham took again. Does this mean He took Sarah and now he was taking a wife again? Or does this mean Avram had already taken Hagar and was taking her back again? The Answer has to do with שָׂרַי ׀ אֵשֶׁת אַבְרָם Sarai was the wife of Avram. Hagar was a wife to Avram but not אֵשֶׁת 'his wife' because she belonged to Sarai. This changed when Avram sent Hagar out from his home. Hagar was free. She was no longer Avram's responsibility to care for as a slave. As a result he only gave her bread and water, i.e. Mystically Ha Torah to live on.


Exodus 21.7 -

And if a man sells his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. If she pleases not her master, who has designated her for himself, then shall he let her be redeemed; to sell her to a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he has dealt deceitfully with her. And if he has betrothed her to his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. If he takes for himself another wife; her food, her garment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. And if he does not do these three things to her, then shall she go out free without payment of money.


Thirty eight years pass. Sarah dies. Yitzchok marryies Rivkah. At this point Avraham again takes Hagar. We know it is Hagar because of several Words that are used.

First is וַיֹּסֶף אַבְרָהָם and again Avraham took a wife...

Second is וַיִּקַּח אִשָּׁה 'And he took a wife.' Ha Torah Uses this language to point out this was Hagar, a wife. In Ha Torah 'A Wife' who is owned as a servant is not like a wife that is free. Hagar was NOT אֵשֶׁת אַבְרָם a wife of Avram. Hagar was Sarai's bond maiden. Hagar was a servant wife. She was owned by Sarai. So Sarai gave Hagar to her husband Avram to be a wife not to be אֵשֶׁת אַבְרָם a wife of Avram. So when we see Ha Torah Say וַיֹּסֶף אַבְרָהָם וַיִּקַּח אִשָּׁה 'And He, Avraham again took his wife...' We understand this is in reference to Hagar, 'a wife.' Our Sages point out that Hagar's / Keturah's status is still that of a concubine, i.e. a wife who status is lower than אֵשֶׁת אַבְרָם 'His Wife', Genesis 25.6. Rabbi Avrohom Davis, The Mesudah Chumash A New Linear Translation Bereishis (Hoboken New Jersey, KTVA Publishing House, Inc., 1991) p 267



The Torah portion of the Bible Teaches a man may have more than one wife at the same time. While a Wife may only have one Husband. Why? Does this seem equal? Is this fair? This is not an issue of fairness or equality. It is an issue of mixing seed which is prohibited by the Creator. Now, we are also required to abide by the laws where we reside. Laws that prohibit polygamy must be followed.


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