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Parashat Chayei Sarah / פרשת חיי שרה

Crop of Rebecca and Eliezer by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo


Parashat Chayei Sarah is the fifth weekly reading in the annual Torah reading cycle, and the fifth reading of Bereishit (“Genesis”). Chayei Sarah (חַיֵּי שָׂרָה) is Hebrew for The Life of Sarah and are the first words of the parashah, which begins with the death of Sarah, the wife of Avraham (Abraham).The parashah records the length of Sarah’s life, where she died, and Avraham’s response to her death. Avraham seeks a place from Bnei Khet (the Hittites) to bury his dead, and the parashah records the exchange, including the transaction that is made with one Efron ben Tzokhar (Efron the son of Zohar), and where Avraham finally buried Sarah.

The parashah continues with the account of how Yitzkhak (Isaac), the son of Avraham, came to take Rivkah (Rebekah) as his wife after his mother’s death. Avraham commissions his servant, Elazar (Eliezer), to travel to Avraham’s relatives to find a wife for Yitzkhak. The parashah records Avraham’s instructions, Elazar’s journey, how HaShem identified Rivkah as the wife for Yitzkhak, Elazar’s exchange with Rivkah and her family, Rivkah’s faith in leaving her own family and land with Elazar as HaShem had ordained, and Rivkah’s first encounter with Yitzkhak.

Parashat Chayei Sarah continues with a record of Avraham’s children, whom his second wife Keturah bore to him before his death, the length of his life, where he was buried, and where Yitzkhak settled after his death. The parashah concludes with a record Yishmael’s (Ishmael) children, Yishmael’s age when he died, and where his children settled.

Torah Portion: Genesis 23:1 – 25:18
1st Aliyah: Genesis 23:1-16 (16 verses)
2nd Aliyah: Genesis 23:17-24:9 (13 verses)
3rd Aliyah: Genesis 24:10-26 (17 verses)
4th Aliyah: Genesis 24:27-52 (26 verses)
5th Aliyah: Genesis 24:53-67 (15 verses)
6th Aliyah: Genesis 25:1-11 (11 verses)
7th Aliyah: Genesis 25:12-18 (7 verses)
Maftir: Genesis 25:16-18 (3 verses)

Reading from the Nevi’im (Prophets):
I Kings 1:1 – 1:31

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