Shabbat candles: 5:30 p.m.
Torah reading: Genesis 25:19-28:9
Haftarah: Machar Chodesh; I Samuel 20:18-42
Shabbat ends: 6:30 p.m.
Family can be a source of support and comfort, but it can also be a source of terrible jealousy, fostering a lifetime of enmity. This is as true of the biblical families as it is of our own. Perhaps we get an indication of that from the opening verse of this week’s portion describing Esau and Jacob as “the generations of Isaac, son of Abraham.”
Shabbat candles: 5:39 p.m.
Torah: Gen. 23:1-25:18
Haftarah: I Kings 1:1-31
Shabbat ends: 6:37 p.m.
Abraham and Sarah seem to have been living apart when she died in Hebron, although the text is not explicit as to why. Apparently, the Akeidah (the near-sacrifice of Isaac) separated them. Abraham “came to mourn for Sarah” [Gen. 23:2], arriving from somewhere else, to bury her.
Anyone who reads the Bible is cognizant that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob played a fundamental role in early Jewish history. But what role, if any, did the matriarchs, specifically Sarah and subsequently Rebecca, play?
‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Belief in Creation was a major point of contention between Jews and Greek philosophers who believed that the world was eternal. In the Middle Ages, Jewish thinkers like Nahmanides expended a heroic amount of energy defending Creation and arguing against the universe’s eternity. At stake for them were the possibility of miracles, the power of God over nature and the truth of revelation, but this metaphysical debate seems stale today.
What is the true symbolism of the sukkah? The Talmud [B.T. Sukkah 11b] cites a difference of opinion between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Eliezer as to whether the sukkah commemorates the huts in which the Israelites dwelt in the desert, or the “clouds of glory” which encompassed us in the desert as a sign of Divine protection.