Interfaith Chayei Sarah

Discussion in 'Interfaith Parsha Project' started by dauer, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Genesis 23:1 - 25:18

    The book of genesis, btw, is called bereshit in Hebrew, just like the first parsha. They are both named for the first word. This is true for the other parshiot as well.

    I don't want to copy a section because these sections are large. So let's discuss the burial plot of Sarah.

    Abraham seems to be getting quite the royal treatment. Why?
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2005
  2. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    dauer - why do you think he is getting the royal treatment .... it seems like he has to bargain rather highly with the Hittites for a gravesite? He only wanted to buy the cave but Ephron throws in the whole field to demand such a high price and Abraham does not argue with the price .... however, he does obtain the rights to much more than he originally asked for ( was this part of the promised land?) .... aloha nui, poh
     
  3. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Well that's what I get for skimming. Now I remember the story. I'm pretty sure it is part of the promised land. Do you have any thoughts on this?
     
  4. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    the only thought I have (except for my usual thoughts on the cave and promise land as places within us .... and I'm trying to stick to the plain meaning ....) is that Abraham has sealed the bargain in laying claim to the land and by doing this now has permanent legal possession .... the commentary in my copy indicates that the verbal stem 'qanah' (to buy) is studiously avoided in the bargaining, but it finally surfaces in the term for "possession" (miqnah)... so I am assuming this is the promised land or at least a part of it.


    One part that I find fascinating is 23:8 "If you have it in your hearts that I should bury my dead now before me, hear me, entreat for me Ephron son of Zohar, and let him grant me the cave of Machpelah that belongs to him, which is at the far end of his field" ..... son of Zohar is interesting because of the association with the Zohar "Book of Spendor, Radiance, Enlightnment" - doesn't Zohar mean "the shining" and Zohar also appears in the sky .... so if Abraham is sealing ownership of the promised land and the cave in which he will bury Sarah, the feminine .... it could relate to another level of meaning ....

    aloha nui, poh
     
  5. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    But why is Ephron called son of Zohar? What is it about Ephron that makes him son of Zohar ooh just checked the hebrew. It's a bad transliteration. It's tzohar. Oh well. Let's move on.

    Abraham sends his servant to a well to look for a bride for Isaac, who is growing up pretty quickly I'd say. What's with Isaac? He doesn't speak much. Why not? Why's he so silent? And why does he get spoken of so little? And why is so much time spent on finding him a wife?

    Dauer
     
  6. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    hmmm dauer - is my copy wrong because it does say son of Zohar?

    on to Abraham and the bride for Isaac - yes it was a rather elaborate search and the gifts given were significant .... there is a comment in the commentaries about the camels which is interesting because he says that camels were not domesticated at this time but perhaps camels did have some restricted use for long desert travel, even though they were not generally employed. And in this part the camels are there as a major part in the process to seek a wife for Isaac .... also Isaac is the most pasive of all the patriarchs and Rebekah is forceful and enterprising so they are almost polarities in spirit .... and I don't know what it means when it says

    and they blessed Rebekah and said to her; "OUr sister, become hence myriads teeming. May your seed take hold of the gate of its foes." which the commentary points out is nearly identical to the prose blessing on Abraham in 22:17 "I will greatly bless you and will greatly multiply your seed, as the stars in the heavens and as the sand on the shore of the sea, and your seed shall take hold of its enemies' gate." what gates are we talking about, are they part of the 12 gates ? And as the quietness of Isaac, there is one part in the Zohar about the binding of Abraham and Isaac and here is part of it:

    "Why then is it written: 'Elohim tested Abraham' and not 'Isaac?'

    No, it had to be Abraham
    He had to be crowned with Rigor
    For until now, Abraham had no rigor at all.
    Now Water was crowned with Fire.
    Abraham was not complete until now
    when he was invested with the power to execute Judgment,
    to ordain it in its domain.
    His whole life long, he had not been whole until now
    when Water was crowed with Fire, and Fire with Water.
    .........
    .........
    Come and see the secret of the word:
    Even though we have said
    that Abraham, not Isaac, is designated in the verse,
    Isaac is secretly implied,
    for it is written:
    "Elohim tested et Abraham.'
    Not 'Abraham, ' but 'et Abraham.'
    It is precisely this et that refers to Isaac.
    For until now, Isaac was dwelling in the sphere of low power.
    As soon as he was bound on the altar,
    initiated into Judgement by Abraham,
    he was arrayed in his own sphere alongside Abraham.
    Fire was crowned with Water; both rose higher.
    Thus the battle was joined; Water versus Fire.

    Who has ever seen a compassionate father turn cruel?
    It was only to reveal the polarity; Water versus Fire,
    each one arrayed in its own sphere,
    unti Jacob appeared and everything harmonized:
    the triad of Patriarchs,
    the symmetry of above and below."

    So perhaps we have something similar in the polarity of Isaac and Rebekah?Notes from The Zohar also say that "Isaac represents the sefirah of Gevurah, Power, which is also symbolized by gold." So I wonder if this is also related to the gold bracelets, etc given to Rebekah?

    These are not easy to read because one has a tendancy to go in and out of different levels of meaning. I read that "the peshat is the starting point, the word on the page. As meaning unfolds, layer by layer one encounters the face of Torah. This is revelation, englightenment. But in Kabbalah, enlightenment leads back to the word; the peshat reappears as the upshot. Like the Zen koan: "First there is a mountain; then there is no mountain; then there is." On this one I think I've only reached "then there is no mountain" .... aloha nui, poh
     
  7. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    I think that the gates might have to do with warfare. I'm sorry. I just don't have a lot to say about the parsha. I think there may be some polarity issue going on. I also think that Isaac may be reacting to the binding and that's why he's so quiet. After all, his father bound him up like a sacrifice. Imagine how you would feel. I might get very quiet after something like that, being treated that way. But maybe that's why he needs a stronger presence for a wife, to balance things off, because he's been scarred, he can't be the dominant one in the relationship.

    But as we'll see later, in his society he still wears the pants and women have to find other, more manipulative ways to get their stuff done.

    Poor Isaac.

    Dauer
     
  8. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    I've been try to study the Torah and the Zohar simultaneously as we go through each section (The Zohar does not cross reference to each section but there are references that help) .... and if we look at the quote below, the perspective from the Zohar then Isaac is more powerful than first appears. Abraham (Zohar perspective) did not become whole until he was invested with the power to execute judgement, then Water was crowned with Fire and he became whole. Isaac dwelt in a lower sphere of power until he was bound at the altar then he rose to the level of Abraham because Fire was crowned with Water and they rose together. These are the spheres on the tree of life in the Kaballah. In Hawaii we have a ancient "tau" or cross that looks just like the Kaballah tree of life and it is related to the gods which in turn relate to the nature of man. But there one of the Zohar passages that contains a mythical description of the Son of God is:

    "The Blessed Holy One has one son who shines from one end of the world to the other. He is a great and mighty tree, whose head reaches toward heaven and whose roots are rooted in the holy ground ." (Zohar 2:105a) The son is the cosmic tree, the trunk of the body of the sefirot. And you already know that I look at the tree of life (all versions, many traditions) as representing the body of man. We even have our own version of a story in which the ancient ocean sends a wave up through the trunk of a breadfruit tree and fish come forth to feed the people .... fish is a metaphor for wisdom. But on the Isaac ....



    Here is the quote from The Zohar, Translation by Daniel Chanan Matt

    "Why then is it written: 'Elohim tested Abraham' and not 'Isaac?'

    No, it had to be Abraham
    He had to be crowned with Rigor
    For until now, Abraham had no rigor at all.
    Now Water was crowned with Fire.
    Abraham was not complete until now
    when he was invested with the power to execute Judgment,
    to ordain it in its domain.
    His whole life long, he had not been whole until now
    when Water was crowed with Fire, and Fire with Water.
    .........
    .........
    Come and see the secret of the word:
    Even though we have said
    that Abraham, not Isaac, is designated in the verse,
    Isaac is secretly implied,
    for it is written:
    "Elohim tested et Abraham.'
    Not 'Abraham, ' but 'et Abraham.'
    It is precisely this et that refers to Isaac.
    For until now, Isaac was dwelling in the sphere of low power.
    As soon as he was bound on the altar,
    initiated into Judgement by Abraham,
    he was arrayed in his own sphere alongside Abraham.
    Fire was crowned with Water; both rose higher.
    Thus the battle was joined; Water versus Fire.

    Who has ever seen a compassionate father turn cruel?
    It was only to reveal the polarity; Water versus Fire,
    each one arrayed in its own sphere,
    until Jacob appeared and everything harmonized:
    the triad of Patriarchs,
    the symmetry of above and below."

    The concept of above and below is critical to the links to many ancient traditions and initially, I think, comes from the Emerald Tablets which was suppose to be the works of Hermes. There were twelve tablets reportedly left in the Great Pyramid in the custody of the Pyramid Priests and here is the reference to above and below:

    "I speak not fiction, but what is certain and most true. What is below is like that which is above, and that which is above is like that which is below for performing the miracle of one thing. And as all things are produced from One, by the mediation of One, so all things are produced from this One thing by adaptation. Its father is the sun, its mother was the moon, the wind carried it in its belly, its nurse is the earth. It is the cause of all perfection throughout the whole earth. Its power is perfect if it be changed into the earth. Separate the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross, gently, and with judgement. It ascends from the earth to heaven, and descends again to earth, thus you will possess the glory of the whole world and all obscurity will fly away."

    got to leave for work .... and happy thanksgiving .... aloha nui, poh
     
  9. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Sorry guys, I've been really busy. I haven't checked the text so I don't know if you're to this part, but...what's with Abrahams little scheme where he endears himself to various rulers and claims Sarah is his sister, allows the ruler to take her as a concubine, then when God makes the sh** hit the fan, absconds with a load of loot? He pulls the same scheme several times.

    Chris
     
  10. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Hi again CCS.

    And I don't think it's just him. I'm pretty sure we'll see the same thing happen with Jacob in toldot. I pointed it out a while ago. It's very odd, very odd indeed. Not sure what to make of it.

    Dauer
     
  11. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    i am just wondering why you think this? is it because of his spirit, strength & vigor as well as being displayed in his manhood & masculinity?
     
  12. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Bandit,

    I had only skimmed the parsha at that time and Poh corrected me for my misread of the text. We're on Toldot now if you want to take a look. It's really juicy.
     

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