WEEKLY SCRIPTURE READING
Torah Portion: Parashat Chayei Sarah (“the life of Sarah”)
Shabbat: Nov. 19, 2022 / Cheshvan 25 5783
Torah: Gen. 23:1-25:18
Prophets: 1 Kings 1:1-31
New Covenant: Matt. 1:1-17, 1 Cor. 15:50-57
TODAY’S PRAYER OF AGREEMENT
The Our Father
“In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you”.
More space is given to the negotiation between Abraham and the Hittites for the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron (Gen. 23:3-16) than many other matters in Torah, since it represented Abraham's faith in the resurrection from the dead. Indeed it was the death of Sarah that moved Abraham to "see and greet from afar" the fulfillment of God's promise, despite the appearances of this world (Heb. 11:13). Thus Abraham said to the sons of Chet: "I am a 'stranger and sojourner' (גֵּר־וְתוֹשָׁב) among you; sell me a burial site..." (Gen. 23:4). Abraham foresaw the City of God, the architecture of Zion to come, and by faith "he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God" (Heb. 11:9-10). It is significant that after the great Exodus, the two faithful spies sent to scout the land (Joshua and Caleb) first visited the burial place of the patriarchs in Hebron to renew their conviction that the land could be taken (Num. 13:21-22). The heart of faith affirms the promise of God, even in the face of the dust of death itself; it affirms that underlying the surface appearance of life is a deeper reality that is ultimately real and abiding. It "sees what is invisible" (2 Cor. 4:18) and understands (i.e., accepts) that the "present form of this world is passing away" (1 Cor. 7:31). Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb. 11:1).
"These (i.e., the patriarchs) all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles (גֵּרִים וְתוֹשָׁבִים) on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland (i.e., πατρίδα, "land of the Father"). If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire better, that is, a heavenly land. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city" (Heb. 11:13-16).