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Chayei Sarah - Bereshit (Genesis) 23:1 - 25:18

Sarah's Lifetime

When Sarah died she lived in Kiriath-arba (Hebron). Avraham did not live with her at the time. There are several traditions surrounding the events that led up to this separation. One such tradition says that while they both still loved one another Sarah could not forgive her husband for the attempted sacrifice of her only son Yitzhak (Isaac) on Mount Moriah. While the couple never divorced according to the custom of the day they did remain separated until her death at the age of 127 years.

”Sarah’s lifetime - the span of Sarah’s life - came to one hundred and twenty-seven years. Sarah died in Kiriath-arba - now Hebron - in the land of Canaan; and Avraham proceeded to mourn for Sarah and to bewail her.”

Another tradition states that upon hearing that Yitzhak was killed by his father as a sacrifice she died immediately of a heart attack, never knowing that Avraham had been prevented by the hand of HaShem from carrying out the death of her son. This tradition, however, fails if the age of Yitzhak at the time of the sacrifice was 37 years.

Both of these stories are tradition and not found in the written Torah therefore can be accepted or dismissed as traditional tales that may or may not be a true accounting for the reason for her death.

Tradition also holds that Avraham, sometime after the death and mourning of his beloved Sarah and the marriage of his son Yitzhak to Rivkah (Rebecca), married Hagar, the mother of his first born son Yishmael (Ishmael). The woman called Keturah in the Torah is said to have been Hagar whom Avraham still cared for a great deal since she was the mother of his eldest son. He had more children through her. Avraham also had other children by several concubines over the course of his remaining years in Canaan.

Avraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah….”

Down through the centuries the descendants of the offspring of Avraham, Sarah, Hagar (Keturah) and Avraham’s concubines became at odds with one another with animosity arising mainly over territorial disputes that continue even down to our time in the 21st Century. However, unlike the offspring of both Yitzhak and Yishmael there was no hatred or raging between the two brothers themselves as seen with the burial of their father Avraham.

And Avraham breathed his last, dying at a good ripe age (175 years) old and contented; and was gathered to his kin. His sons Yitzhak and Yishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, facing Mamre…”

Perhaps we Jews and Arabs, the offspring of these two great brothers could learn a little something about love and tolerance between family. I do know that when Mashiach, Son of David comes all animosity will be done away with swiftly.

Baruch HaShem.

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