Pearls of Rashi -Parshas Chayei Soroh II

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This week’s Torah reading is called by the name Chayei Soroh, meaning “The Life of Soroh.” This is despite the fact that at the beginning of this Parshah we read of Soroh’s passing, as we explained earlier.

Soroh and Avrohom had been married, yet Soroh remained childless. She told Avrohom to marry her handmaiden, Hagar, in order to father children. Hagar indeed gave birth to a son named Yishmoel. Later Soroh bore a son to Avrohom named Yitzchok.

At the end of our portion, we read that Avrohom later remarried and had more children. The Torah says that[1] “Avrohom took another wife, and her name was Keturoh.” Who was Keturah? Rashi tells us there that Keturoh “is Hagar. She was called Keturoh because her deeds were as beautiful as incense (Ketores – קטורת  in Hebrew) …” In other words, he remarried the woman who had born his first son.

We need to understand how Rashi knows this. There doesn’t seem to be an allusion to this in the Torah!

The explanation is as follows. We learned earlier that Hashem commanded Avrohom to leave his father’s house. The Torah tells us that[2] “Avrohom (who was then called Avrom) took Soroh (whose name was then Sorai) his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all of their possessions which they acquired; and the people they had acquired (literally made) in Choron.”

What is the meaning of “the people they had made?” Rashi explains there that it refers to those “whom he had brought under the wings of the Shechinah. Avrohom would convert the men, and Soroh would convert the women. The Torah considers it as if they had made them.”

Avrohom had great success in reaching out to others. He had drawn many people close to Hashem and His service. How much more so is that true regarding his own family! How could one possibly say that one who was married to Avrohom returned to her previous ways of idolatry?

That is why the Torah now calls her Keturah; it tells us that “her deeds were as beautiful as incense.” That is why Avrohom took her again as his wife.

The same is true of all of one’s obligations; whether we feel up to the task or not. We must follow the example of Avrohom, thereby bringing Moshiach now.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 15, Page 174

Mr. Sholom Moshe Hacohen
ben Reb Shlomo Meir Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה הכהן בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יו”ל ע”י חתנו ובתו שיחיו
הרה”ת ר’ שמואל ורבקה שי’ מענדלסאהן

[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 25:1.

[2]. Parshas Lech Lecho, Bereishis 12:5.

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