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“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

The summary of the entire Torah is as simple as this:
Love what HaShem loves; hate what HaShem hates. All else is commentary.

Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

WARNING: The text used for my commentary is my own paraphrase and must not be
considered “a translation” or authorative in any way. It is, in fact, simply my commentary.

Maps, when used, are from Created using BibleMapper 3.0.
Additional data from
Source of Dates Used

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית • B'resheet
(“In Beginning” or “At First”)
The First Book of Moses,
Commonly Called


פָּרָשָׁה חַיֵּי שָׂרָהְ

Parashah Hayyei-Sarah
“Sara’s Life”
B'risheet 23:1-25:18

Jewish Man Reading Torah Scroll

This week's commentary from First Fruits of Zion (Messianic)
This week's commentary from (Rabbinical)
This week’s commentary from (Christian)

This Week’s Reading Schedule
  Review and meditate
  on last week’s Parashah

  Rishon [1st]: 23:1-16
  Sheni [2nd]: 23:27-24:9

  Shlishi [3rd]: 24:10-26
  R'vi'i [4th]: 24:27-52

  Chamishi [5th]: 24:53-67
  Shishi [6th]: 25:1-11
  Shvi'i [7th]: 25:12-15
  Maftir [Concluding]: 25:16-18

  Haftarah: (Selections)[GN]
     1 Kings 1:1–31
  Ketuvei HaShalichim (Apostolic Writings)
    Basar: (The Gospel)
      Yochanan (John) 4:3–14
    Kepherim: Letters (optional)
      Mattityahu (Matthew) 8:19–22; 27:3–10
      Lukas (Luke) 9:57–62


The Blessing of the Torah

Click here to listen to this canted by
Cantor Kenneth B. Cohen
of Temple Sholom, Greenwich, CT.
Aliya: (the one who “goes up” to read)  
   Bar-khu et Adonai ham-vor-ack.
   (Praise ADONAI Who is worthy to be praised.)
   Ba-rookh Adonai ham-vor-ack ley-oh-lam

   (Praise ADONAI Who is worthy to be praised for
     all eternity.)
   Ba-rookh Adonai ham-vor-ack ley-oh-lam

   (Praise ADONAI Who is worthy to be praised for
     all eternity.)
Ba-rookh ah-tah Adonai, Eh-lo-hay-noo
meh-lekh hah oh-lahm,
ah-sher ba-char ba-noo me-kol ha-ah­meem,
v’na-tahn lah-noo et torah-toe,
ba-rookh ah-tah Adonai, no-tane hah-torah.

Blessed are You, O Lord our God,
King of the Universe,
Who has chosen us from all peoples
and given us His Torah.
Blessed are You, O Lord, Giver of the Torah.

~ 23 ~
Listen to Hayyei-Sarah read from the CJB

[Hebron [MAP] 1830 BCE]

V. Parashah Hayyei-Sarah (Sarah’s Life) 23:1-25:18

A. Sarah’s Death and Burial (23:1-20)

1. Abraham Mourns Sarah’s Death (23:1-2)

(i) 1Sarah lived one hundred twenty-seven years; this was the length of Sarah’s life. 2Sarah died in Kiryat-Arba (also called HevronHebron),[2] in the land of Kena'anCanaan (“lowland”).[MAP] Avraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.

2. Cave Purchased for a Tomb (23:3-18)

 3Then Avraham rose up from beside his his dead wife and said to the sons of Het,[3]  4“I am a sojourner and an alien[4] living among you. Give me possession of a burial site among you, so that that I may bury my dead.”

5The sons of Het answered Avraham, 6“Hear us, my lord. You are a prince of Elohim[GN] among us. Bury your dead in the finest of our tombs. None of us will withhold his tomb from you for burying your dead.”[6]

7Avraham rose up, and bowed to the people of the land, the sons of Het. 8He said to them, “If you are willing for me to bury my dead, hear me, and ask ‘EfronEphron the son of TzocharZohar for me, 9to sell me the cave of MakhpelahMachpelah, which belongs to him, which is in the end of his field. Let him sell it to me in your presence, for the full price, as a burial site.”

10Now ‘Efron was sitting among the sons of Het. So in the presence of all the sons of Het who had come to the city gate,[10] ‘Efron the Hittite answered Avraham, 11“No, my lord, listen to me. I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the presence of the sons of my people I give it to you. Bury your dead.”

12Avraham bowed down before the people of the land 13and he said to ‘Efron in their presence, “If you will, please hear me. I will pay you the price of the field. Accept it from me so that I may bury my dead there.”

14‘Efron answered Avraham, saying to him, 15“My lord, listen to me. What is a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver[15] between me and you? Therefore bury your dead.”

16Avraham listened to ‘Efron. Avraham weighed out to ‘Efron the amount of silver he had named in the presence of the sons of Het, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the current merchants’ standard.


(ii) 17So ‘Efron’s field in Makhpelah, [MAP] which was near Mamre, the cave which was in it, and all the trees that were within its borders, were deeded 18to Avraham’s possession in the presence of the sons of Het who were at the city gate.

3. Sarah Buried (23:19-20)

 19After this, Avraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave of the field of Makhpelah near Mamre (that is, Hevron), in the land of Kena'an. 20The field and its cave were deeded to Avraham for a burial site by the sons of Het.[20]

Chapter 24

 2. Kirjath-arba (“city of Arba”) was the early name of the city which after the conquest was called Hebron (“association”). [BACK]

 3. Sons of Het (Heth), the Hittites. [BACK]

 4. Sojourner (Heb. גֵּר, ger), a temporary inhabitant, a newcomer lacking inherited rights; and an alien (Heb. תּוֹשָׁב, toshab) outsider, stranger, sojourner. [BACK]

 6. Avraham was reluctant to bury Sarah in a borrowed tomb, because he was only living there temporarily. The burial custom of the time was to lay the dead on a special slab in the tomb [PICTURE] until all the flesh was decayed away, then transfer the bones to a box called an ossuary to be placed elsewhere in the same or another tomb, freeing the slab for the tomb’s next occupant. If he had buried Sarah in a borrowed tomb and then moved to somewhere else, he had no way of knowing what would happen to her bones when the cave was needed by its owner. Abraham wisely insisted on purchasing the tomb for himself and his family members, paying full price for it to ensure that there would be no question of ownership later. See “Cave of the Patriarchs.” Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Leah are all buried in the same Cave of Machpelah. The only one who is missing is Rachel, who was buried near Bethlehem where she died in childbirth. [BACK]

10. In ancient times in the middle east, all legal business transactions were conducted at the city gates, the equivalent of our city hall. [BACK]

15. A shekel is about 10 grams, so 400 shekels would be about 4 kg, 8.8 pounds, or 140.8 ounces. At today’s price of silver ($26.27) the value of that much silver is $3,698.82. [BACK]

20. The Cave of Machpela has an ancient history dating back to the earliest man and woman in the Bible. Adam and Eve are said to be buried in the cave, the first of four couples to be buried there. The Cave of Machpela and the field around it were Abraham’s first acquisition in the Land that God promised to him and his descendants. See “Cave of the Partiarchs (Machpelah): History, Structure, and Spiritual Significance” and “Cave of the Patriarchs[BACK]

Other commentaries on Genesis 23
Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Pulpit Commentary
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Originally posted on Tuesday, 27 July 2021
Revised and updated on Monday, 10 October 2022

Page last updated on Monday, 02 October 2023 12:52 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

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