Wednesday, October 23, 2013

posts so far for parshat Chayei Sarah


1. What nekitas chefetz was there, if Yaakov was nolad mahul So asks Rav Chaim Kanievsky, further exploring the path set by Mizrachi. By Avraham, it was nekitas chefetz on the milah, and Avraham's very first mitzvah. Not so for Yaakov, on two counts. Rav Kanievsky's answer, and then I explore further.

2. Calculations regarding stolen blessings and mitzvos -- an elaborate construction from the Chasam Sofer.

3. YUTorah on Chayei Sarah

4. The small kaf in וְלִבְכֹּתָהּ -- Rabbenu Ephraim collects explanations. Could any of these explanations be peshat?


1. Chayei Sarah sources, 2011 edition.

2. YUTorah on parashat Chayei Sarah.

3. Eliezer makes a netilas yadayim and hamotzi -- But how does the Baal HaTurim know to add these additional details to the midrash?

4. A consistent explanation of shalshelet, across Tanach -- Considering explanations for the shalshelet in our parashah, as well as across Tanach. Rav Kanievsky has a consistent midrashic explanation. I give a drier, more technical explanation.

5. Darshening the pesik in ויהי | כראות -- Should we? I don't think so, because it is not a pesik.

  1. Chayei Sarah sources -- further improved and expanded.
  2. Was Sarah buried in the *Valley* of ChevronA variant text in the beginning of parashat Chayei Sarah, present in the Septuagint and Samaritan Pentateuch. And why I believe the masoretic text to be better.
  3. Was Sarah Imeinu evil and ugly at age 101 I don't think so. Therefore, a potential deeper meaning in the famous midrash.
  4. Why was it called Kiryat ArbaI believe that what drives Rashi is first peshat and second derash. But there are complications, in the form of an explicit pasuk which seems to contradict Rashi's peshat.
  5. Avraham Avinu's deceased daughter -- In which I discover a Chasam Sofer which deduces a neo-midrash I came up with myself.
  6. Does Rashi change the number of miracles?  No, he doesn't. But I like the methodology. A response to a DovBear post.
  7. Proving Rivkah's Virtue -- A fascinating midrash, in which Rivkah proves that she did not have relations with Eliezer on the way.
  8. Sated, or Sated with years? A little more information, to make a more informed decision of the merits of the Masoretic text vs. the Samaritan text, on whether it is 'sated' or 'sated with years'. A response to a DovBear post. But I misidentified the Peshitta text, due to a mixup. What appears in that post is NOT Peshitta.
  9. Rav Moshe Feinstein on Avraham's deceased daughter -- On previous occasions, I have discussed the midrash on Avraham Avinu's deceased daughter. Now, I present Rav Moshe Feinstein's take inside, and analyze it a little bit.
  10. The meaning of יִפֹּל מִצִּדְּךָ אֶלֶף -- In which I encounter a novel peshat in davening, but still prefer my own.
  1. Chayei Sarah sources -- links by aliyah and perek to an online Mikraos Gedolos, plus links to more than 100 meforshim on the parsha and haftorah.
  2. Should there be a pasek between Nesi Elohim and Ata? The vast majority of precise manuscripts don't have it. Though Minchas Shai endorses it, I explain why I would not.
  3. The evolution of a derash -- how Midrash Rabba makes no mention of a krei / ketiv, but probably darshens Eliezer's hope for his daughter's marriage to Yitzchak from a different textual feature. Then, how Rashi and Yalkut Shimoni handle it. And then, what do we make of the derasha being of Eliezer's retelling, rather than the original narrative.
  4. Is it written Pilgashim or Pilagsham? A derasha based on deficient spelling, but we don't have this deficient spelling!
  5. If she was a virgin, isn't it obvious that no man had known her?! How different pashtanim deal with this duplication. Rashi, Rashbam, and even Ibn Ezra make something of the duplication, but I side with Ibn Caspi who says that the duplication is a linguistic feature, and should not connote anything on the level of peshat. And my own novel explanation of why veIsh lo yedaah was necessary. Which I now see was not so novel, unfortunately.
  6. Why did Eliezer run after Rivkah? According to Rashi and Ibn Caspi, and what this might demonstrate about their methodologies. I associate it with an even earlier pasuk than Rashi and Ibn Caspi do; and then I note the more general phenomenon of running in the perek, and attempt to explain that as well.
  7. The order of presents and inquiring after Rivkah's family -- and how different pashtanim (Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Ibn Caspi) handle it.
  8. To whom does Avraham bow? The midrash modifying this might be going on different pesukim. If on a particular pasuk, then Ibn Ezra and Rashbam are arguing with Chazal, while Ibn Caspi supports them as a matter of peshat. And how this relates to Eliezer bowing down on hearing good news.
  9. Yeridas HaDoros, and whether Avraham muzzled his camels -- Rashi says yes, and Ramban says no. Also, how this relates to the donkey of Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair.


  • A Three Year Old Rivkah -- Plausible? Obscene?
    • I discuss plausibility of a three year old marrying, and of a three year old able to carry a heavy water pitcher. Also, whether a three year old could carry on such a conversation with Eliezer. Also, would this be obscene? Note that Rashi says the actual consummation of marriage was years later. Plus more.
  • Use of Time-of-Day To Convey Drama and Mood
    • in Vayera, in Chayyei Sara, and in Rut. I think in Chayyei Sarah it adds to the drama of the romantic meeting of Yitzchak and Rivka.
  • The Account of Betuel's Death By Poision, part i
    • What apparent problem in the text does this midrash solve? What is the textual basis for the resolution? How does this midrash fit in with the overall theme of the parsha?
  • The Account of Betuel's Death By Poison, part ii
    • The same midrash, but with a different spin, as it occurs in Bereishit Rabbati from Rav Moshe haDarshan. In terms of a different poisoner (Lavan) and a different, fairly positive, motivation for the attempted poisoning.
  • Was the Servant of Avraham Eliezer?
    • An analysis of the identification of Eliezer with the servant of Avraham. Most obviously, Chazal's closed canon approach. But even on a peshat level, we show a reason to equate the two. Why would the Torah not mention it, if so. From the perspective of literature, other people in this narrative are deliberately not mentioned by name - Rivka, Lavan, Betuel - even though their names are known from elsewhere - and this for deliberate literary effect. Compare with the story of Moshe being born and placed in the Nile, where proper names are also deliberately omitted.
  • לוֹ, לוּ, לֹא אֲדֹנִי שְׁמָעֵנִי - part 1
    • Aleph and Vav are matres lectiones, "mothers of reading," and in reality can and do fill many vowel roles. What different perspective of the interaction between Efron and Avraham do we get it we revocalize all the above as לוּ and change the locations of pasuk break to always give us לוּ אֲדֹנִי שְׁמָעֵנִי? 
  • לוֹ, לוּ, לֹא אֲדֹנִי שְׁמָעֵנִי - part 2 (2004)
    • Further thoughts and developments on the same subject. Plus what Tg Yonatan does with this.
  • Waterloo
    • A joke which matches well with the two aforementioned divrei Torah.
  • Sarah's Daughter
    • The derivation of a midrash that states that Sarah had a daughter who died on the same day that Sarah died.
to be continued...

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