The Killing Angel
Avrohom: The First Ever Re-Gifter?
Shoin, as our parsha of the week opens, we learn that Soro Emanu (our foremother) had recently passed and that her dedicated and subservient husband -under directions of the RBSO who told Avrohom in very specific language “Koil Asher Toimar Eylecho Soro, Shema Bikoila” (everything your wife Soro tells you, listen to her voice (or commands)- had just arrived -from where is hotly debated- to bury and to mourn for her. In our times, most men, unless so instructed by the RBSO Himself, do not listen to a single word their wives say. Shoin! Avrohom, having undergone a circumcision of sorts at age 99, and now fully Jewish, was still exhibiting personality traits of his pre-Jew days and the heylige Toirah dedicates a full 13 pisukim to the negotiations Avrohom entered into with the B’nai Cheys (Hittites) for the purchase of a cave and its surrounding land. The bottom line was this: the Hittites offered twice to gift it to him; Avrohom insisted on paying full price and in cash. Shoin! Not to worry: though we are taught to emulate the ways of our forefathers, rest assured that no other real estate transaction in der gantze velt (entire world), has gone down since in similar fashion. Negotiating to pay less and to use leverage is -according to some- biblically commanded. Shoin, let’s cut our zeyda Avrohom a break and let’s recall that these negotiations took place hundreds of years prior to Matan Toirah. Shoin: the first hondeling gene must have been placed into Yitzchok’s DNA, the first person born fully Jewish. As it turns out, the seller’s have had remorse ever since and are still, in our times, trying to nullify the sale. Oy a broch! In previous posting on this parsha, we zicher covered the three major storylines and many others. Those can be found in the amazing archives over at www.oisvorfer.com.
Welcome to parshas Chaya Soro, the first and only parsha named after a female Toirah personality. Accordingly, this year we will take a look at two side topics, both involve women. Ober let’s for a moment roll back one parsha. Efsher you recall that Yitzchok narrowly escaped death in parshas Vayero but was saved when, at the very last moment, a Malach Hashem (angel of the RBSO) called down to Avrohom who was with knife in hand and ready -under instructions from the RBSO- to shecht (slaughter) his only and beloved son Yitzchok. As our parsha opens, Yitzchok is somewhere between 37 and 40 years old and his father is naturally concerned that Yitzchok is still single. What to do? Let’s recall that hotels like the Pioneer, the Pine View, Grossinger’s, and later, the Homowak, were still a few thousand years away and that apps and sites including YU Connects, Frumster and others, where one swipes, if you chap, were not yet in existence. Shoin, Avrohom enlisted the services of his trusted servant Eliezer who has been quite active these last few parshas. Two weeks back he was efsher the ‘polit’ the war escapee who brought Avrom some good news, last week he was busy helping Avrohom prepare a meal for the ‘guests’ who visited post bris, and also as one of the ‘youths’ who accompanied Avrohom and Yitzchok to the akeydo (binding). This week he is again commissioned, this time, to travel to Ur Kasdim where he is charged with finding a suitable wife for Yitzchok. This week, Eliezer, as you all should know, will meet Rivka at the well, see her jugs, and shoin. The action picks up when Rivka -three years old according to many but not all- is recounting the myseh of how she encountered Eliezer at the well. It’s mamish kiday to read these pisukim innanvening in order that we lay the proper foundation for this week’s review. Says the heylige Toirah Bereishis 24: 45-55, azoy:
|45. I had not yet finished speaking thus in my heart, and behold, Rebecca came out with her pitcher on her shoulder, and she went down to the fountain and drew water, and I said to her, ‘Please give me to drink.’||מהאֲנִי֩ טֶ֨רֶם אֲכַלֶּ֜ה לְדַבֵּ֣ר אֶל־לִבִּ֗י וְהִנֵּ֨ה רִבְקָ֤ה יֹצֵאת֙ וְכַדָּ֣הּ עַל־שִׁכְמָ֔הּ וַתֵּ֥רֶד הָעַ֖יְנָה וַתִּשְׁאָ֑ב וָֽאֹמַ֥ר אֵלֶ֖יהָ הַשְׁקִ֥ינִי נָֽא:|
|46. And she hastened and lowered her pitcher from upon her, and she said, ‘Drink, and I will also water your camels.’ So I drank, and she also watered the camels.||מווַתְּמַהֵ֗ר וַתּ֤וֹרֶד כַּדָּהּ֙ מֵֽעָלֶ֔יהָ וַתֹּ֣אמֶר שְׁתֵ֔ה וְגַם־גְּמַלֶּ֖יךָ אַשְׁקֶ֑ה וָאֵ֕שְׁתְּ וְגַ֥ם הַגְּמַלִּ֖ים הִשְׁקָֽתָה:|
|47. And I asked her, and I said, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ And she replied, ‘The daughter of Bisuale the son of Nahor, whom Milcah bore to him.’ And I placed the nose ring on her nose and the bracelets on her hands.||מזוָֽאֶשְׁאַ֣ל אֹתָ֗הּ וָֽאֹמַר֘ בַּת־מִ֣י אַתְּ֒ וַתֹּ֗אמֶר בַּת־בְּתוּאֵל֙ בֶּן־נָח֔וֹר אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָֽלְדָה־לּ֖וֹ מִלְכָּ֑ה וָֽאָשִׂ֤ם הַנֶּ֨זֶם֙ עַל־אַפָּ֔הּ וְהַצְּמִידִ֖ים עַל־יָדֶֽיהָ:|
|48. And I kneeled and prostrated myself to the Lord, and I blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, Who led me on the true path, to take the daughter of my master’s brother for his son.||מחוָֽאֶקֹּ֥ד וָֽאֶשְׁתַּֽחֲוֶ֖ה לַֽיהֹוָ֑ה וָֽאֲבָרֵ֗ךְ אֶת־יְהֹוָה֙ אֱלֹהֵי֙ אֲדֹנִ֣י אַבְרָהָ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֤ר הִנְחַ֨נִי֙ בְּדֶ֣רֶךְ אֱמֶ֔ת לָקַ֛חַת אֶת־בַּת־אֲחִ֥י אֲדֹנִ֖י לִבְנֽוֹ:|
|49. And now, if you will do loving kindness and truth with my master, tell me, and if not, tell me, and I will turn to the right or to the left.”||מטוְ֠עַתָּ֠ה אִם־יֶשְׁכֶ֨ם עֹשִׂ֜ים חֶ֧סֶד וֶֽאֱמֶ֛ת אֶת־אֲדֹנִ֖י הַגִּ֣ידוּ לִ֑י וְאִם־לֹ֕א הַגִּ֣ידוּ לִ֔י וְאֶפְנֶ֥ה עַל־יָמִ֖ין א֥וֹ עַל־שְׂמֹֽאל:|
|50. And Lovon and Bisuale answered and said, “The matter has emanated from the Lord. We cannot speak to you either bad or good.||נוַיַּ֨עַן לָבָ֤ן וּבְתוּאֵל֙ וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ מֵֽיהֹוָ֖ה יָצָ֣א הַדָּבָ֑ר לֹ֥א נוּכַ֛ל דַּבֵּ֥ר אֵלֶ֖יךָ רַ֥ע אוֹ־טֽוֹב:|
|51. Behold Rebecca is before you, take [her] and go, and let her be a wife for your master’s son, as the Lord has spoken.”||נאהִנֵּֽה־רִבְקָ֥ה לְפָנֶ֖יךָ קַ֣ח וָלֵ֑ךְ וּתְהִ֤י אִשָּׁה֙ לְבֶן־אֲדֹנֶ֔יךָ כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֖ר דִּבֶּ֥ר יְהֹוָֽה:|
|52. Now it came to pass when Abraham’s servant heard their words, that he prostrated himself on the ground to the Lord.||נבוַיְהִ֕י כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֥ר שָׁמַ֛ע עֶ֥בֶד אַבְרָהָ֖ם אֶת־דִּבְרֵיהֶ֑ם וַיִּשְׁתַּ֥חוּ אַ֖רְצָה לַֽיהֹוָֽה:|
|53. And the servant took out silver articles and golden articles and garments, and he gave [them] to Rebecca, and he gave delicacies to her brother and to her mother.||נגוַיּוֹצֵ֨א הָעֶ֜בֶד כְּלֵי־כֶ֨סֶף וּכְלֵ֤י זָהָב֙ וּבְגָדִ֔ים וַיִּתֵּ֖ן לְרִבְקָ֑ה וּמִ֨גְדָּנֹ֔ת נָתַ֥ן לְאָחִ֖יהָ וּלְאִמָּֽהּ:|
|54. And they ate and drank, he and the men who were with him, and they lodged, and they arose in the morning, and he said, “Send me away to my master.”||נדוַיֹּֽאכְל֣וּ וַיִּשְׁתּ֗וּ ה֛וּא וְהָֽאֲנָשִׁ֥ים אֲשֶׁר־עִמּ֖וֹ וַיָּלִ֑ינוּ וַיָּק֣וּמוּ בַבֹּ֔קֶר וַיֹּ֖אמֶר שַׁלְּחֻ֥נִי לַֽאדֹנִֽי:|
|55. And her brother and her mother said, “Let the maiden stay with us a year or ten [months]; afterwards she will go.”||נהוַיֹּ֤אמֶר אָחִ֨יהָ֙ וְאִמָּ֔הּ תֵּשֵׁ֨ב הַנַּֽעֲרָ֥ה (כתיב הנער) אִתָּ֛נוּ יָמִ֖ים א֣וֹ עָשׂ֑וֹר אַחַ֖ר תֵּלֵֽךְ:|
Shoin, we now met Rivka’s father, Bisuale, and her soon to be notorious brother, Lovon. We continue to read about Lovon yearly at the Pesach Seder, ober that for another day. At some point -see posik 55 above- we are told azoy “Her brother and mother replied, (and said azoy) “Let the girl stay with us for a year or ten months, after that she may go.” And shoin, after reading this and realizing that her father did not chime in, many a medrish, including Rashi of course, ask azoy: Where was Rivka’s father, Bisuale? Why is he not mentioned? He was part of previous exchanges, he had speaking roles, but has gone silent. Where did he disappear to? After all, his last speaking part came but 5 pisukim earlier when we read “Lovon and Bisuale replied.’ Where was Bisuale’s voice when her mom and brother recommended that she stay for a year or ten months before leaving to marry Yitzchok? Shoin, let’s shine a shtikel light on the creativity of Rashi and the medroshim who each proffered such interesting exegesis on this topic. Soon you will zicher see how Toirah is indeed the beste-sechoiro and that there is no need to fill your heads with other narishkeyt while surfing. Do you really care what’s going on in Japan with Trump and Abe and North Korea? That’s news for a day or two; the heylige Toirah is forever!
Asks Rashi: where the hec was Bisuale? Of course Rashi did not write ‘the hec’; the Oisvorfer added these words for effect. Shoin. Ober Rashi was of course a genius and quoting the medrish (Bereishis Rabba 60), he answers his own question azoy: Bisuale was dead! Fartig, over and out. Dead men don’t talk! He was very much alive five pisukim earlier and now he’s dead? Didn’t they just all sit down to a meal after Eliezer handed over silver, gold, and clothing for Yitzchok’s kallah, Rivka? They did. Shoin. Ober what taka happened to Bisuale, and why is the heylige Toirah silent as to his demise? Says the medrish so gishmak azoy: Bisuale, though having agreed to allow his young daughter to travel and marry Yitzchok, didn’t really want her to go; instead he wished to impede Rivka’s departure. Therefore a ‘Malach Hashem’ (an angel) came along and killed him. Fartig: ois Bisuale! OMG!
Ober says the Da’as Zikaynim Miba’alei Hatoisfis that what down was this: Bisuale was plotting to kill Eliezer. He was? How? By feeding him poison. Motivated by? Greed: he wanted to clean Eliezer out of the monies he was carrying. How was the plot to unfold? Nu, in posik 54 which we just read, we learned that they all sat down to eat, drink and sleep. Bisuale poisoned Eliezer’s plated portion. Clever! As an aside, another medrish will tell us that all Eliezer was carrying besides the gifts intended for Rivka, was a contract -a will of sorts- which indicated that Yitzchok was to inherit substantially all of Avrohom’s wealth. The subject of Avrohom’s wealth and who got what, will, space permitting, be covered below. In any event, along came the Malach Hashem, the RBSO’s Angel, an angel of death. For this mission, the RBSO sent the malach Gavriel (Gabriel), and he switched Eliezer’s plate with Bisuale. Shoin and fartig!
Ober says the Ibn Ezra: not so fast. Who says Bisuale was killed and is now dead? All the posik told us was that Rivka’s brother and mother spoke up about the requested delay. Efsher we can kler azoy: Bisuale, now content that his daughter would be well off (having seen the gold, silver and clothing) just sat there quietly. Ober listen to this mamish blow away pshat and says the medrish azoy: Bisuale was taka mamish dead! Ober, why did he deserve to die so quickly at the hands of the Malach Gavriel? Seemingly, Bisuale was the depraved and chazerish (swine) leader of the people of Aram Naharayim, and as leader, claimed for himself the right to deflower, if you chap, which he seemingly did, every virgin girl in the country. He did what? Want more of that medrish? Here goes: Said the townspeople azoy: if Bisuale will treat his own daughter as he does our own virgin daughters, all is good. If not, we will kill him. As an aside, the Oisvorfer heard this week mamish -from a source who spent some time in West Africa- that the minhag hamokoim (custom) there was, and still is -ad hayoim hazeh- (until today), for the father of the bride to chap first from his own daughter before sending her off to her husband. Shreklich mamish ober who are you, or we, to argue with the heylige medrish, which according to some people the Oisvorfer sees daily, believe that all medroshim were given to the Yiddin atop Har Sinai? Of course every medrish is true; some just didn’t happen yet! In any event, that night, just after the meal and when all went to bed, along came the malach and shoin. Rivka was saved the torment and would remain a virgin until she met and married Yitzhok. They consummated in Soro’s tent. Where can one find such a colorful medrish? Check out the Medrish Agada 24. One thing iz zicher: were Bisuale to try this in our times, zicher he would be required to register as a sex offender and would likely spend some quality time getting to know Anthony Weiner.
Shoin, earlier we mentioned that Eliezer was efsher carrying a ‘shtar,’ a will of sorts, which declared that all of Avrohom’s wealth was to be bequeathed to Yitzchok. Let’s recall the words of the heylige Toirah which tell us (Bereishis 25:5) that “Avrohom gave all that was his to Yitzchok.” Is that what taka happened? If emes, and avada it is if the heylige Toirah told us so, what if anything did Avrohom bequeath to his son Yishmoale? Was he not Avrohom’s first-born? Did he get nothing? And what was left behind for Avrohom’s other children? What other children you ask? He mamish had other kids? Nu, if you would have stayed in shul a bit longer, you might have come across these very eye opening words as found in posik 25:1, which tells us that following Soro’s passing, and with Avrohom at least 140 years old, he decided to remarry. Why would a man of 140 years want to get married again and have children? Shoin, let’s read a shtikel medrish which discusses this very topic.
Reb Dustai said in the name of Reb Shmuel bar Nachman: if you had children in your youth, take for yourself a wife in your old age and produce children. Shoin and from where did the medrish learn this adage: From Avrohom Ovenu, who had children in his youth (let’s recall he was only 86 years old when Yishmoale was born, and 100 years old when Yitzchok was born), and still proceeded to take a wife in his old age, and produced children with her.
Says the heylige Toirah: Avrohom married a woman by the name of Kitura. Moreover, the heylige Toirah seems to be telling us that Avrohom had not just a new wife, but also several additional concubines. Rashi and the medrish are not mikabale (do not accept this view); they insist that he married but one more time. Moreover he and a few others argue that Kitura was really Hogor, the woman he ‘took’ at Sorai’s (later Soro) behest when they were still childless. Shoin, who this Kitura was or was not, and if she was Hogor or someone new, is the subject of many a machloikes (disagreement) by multiple commentators. We have previously covered this topic and if you want more tantalizing details including how she closed up her shop, if you chap, until Avrohom took her back, avada you can find them on the Oisvorfer’s site.
The bottom line: who this Kitura was for sure, we don’t know, or at least, many commentators so pretend. Let’s recall: these events took place a few thousand years before 9/11. A driver’s license, and or a passport she was zicher not carrying. Ober, let’s also keep in mind that the RBSO, who gave us His heylige Toirah, told us she was Kitura and not anyone else. Why argue? Is there any one point that Rashi, the heylige Gemora and all others agree on? Yes! That Avrohom got married to at least one more woman and had six more kinderlach whose names were Zimron, Yokshon, Midon, Midyon, Yishbok, and Shuach. Impressive at any age, oisergiveyntlich (outstanding) at 140+. Ober is even that emes? Not! Says the medrish Tanchuma who quotes the medrish above, and adds, that Avrohom had but two children in his youth, followed by twelve more in his older age. Ey (ober) the heylige Toirah lists only six, why does the medrish tell us he had twelve? Avada that’s not a question. Why not? Because the heylige Toirah is not a history book: it tells us only information the RBSO wanted us to know and from which we can learn something. What do we learn from the six and not twelve? Ver veyst?! Wait, here’s one more view. Says the Seforno: it’s not necessarily the case that Avrohom and Kitura (whomever she was) had six or twelve kinderlach; efsher they didn’t have any!? Ober why would the heylige Toirah mention six if she had none? Shoin, that’s also no question. Why not? Because it’s possible that Avrohom and Kitura merely either raised them, or taught them Toirah. When that happens, those children might then be considered as being his or theirs. And taka that’s what we find where Aharoin’s kinderlach are listed as Moishe’s. Why? Because he taught them Toirah. Gishmak! Shoin, do you have a headache yet? You are not alone and veyter gigangin (let’s move on) before we find yet another medrish which tells us that he had a few dozen and many more wives.
Ober did he leave all these children penniless? Did Yitzchok mamish walk away with the entire yirusha (inheritance) as the heylige Toirah told us? Nu, this topic too is hotly debated and lommer lernin what a few had to say. Says the Rashbam: Avrohom gave them (the other kids) “lots” of money! And taka so says the Ibn Ezra. Says the Seforno: he did not give them any part of the inheritance as that was already promised to Yitzchok; that does not however mean he did not give them readily available cash, stocks, some Bitcoin and other current assets while he was still alive. Ober, Rashi quoting our rabbis, and taka so say the Da’as Zikaynim Mi’ba’alie Hatoisfis, as well as the heylige Gemora (Sanhedrin 91) azoy: Avrohom did not leave them cash but did gift them some ‘words’ and with these special words, they were empowered to perform some type of sorcery. Sorcery? What’s pshat? Shoin that too is hotly debated by the Gemora and others. According to some, he seemingly gave them some word or words, which when spoken or pronounced, would enable them to perform sorcery. Exactly what that means, ver veyst? And whether or not they were able to use this sorcery at the grocery (and elsewhere) to pay bills, we are not told. Ober how could our zeyda Avrohom teach his non-Jewish children about sorcery? Is that not verboten. Shoin, according to those who say it is forbidden even for goyim (gentiles), to perform sorcery, mistama he did not teach them words which allowed them to practice sorcery. Instead he taught them words regarding sorcery; words to be protected from sorcerers. These very words would protect them against those in other countries who did use sorcery to their advantage. What all that means, ver veyst but according to this view, cash they did not get. Rashi tells us that what Avrohom gave to Yitzchok was the brocho of being able to bless others. Avada you recall that back in Lech Lecha, the RBSO blessed Avrom and told him that he will himself be a ‘brocho’ and that those he, Avrom blesses, will be blessed. Avrohom was now passing on this gift to Yitzchok. If this is taka what Yitzchok got from his father, there was seemingly still plenty of cash, cattle and other goodies to go around and to be shared by Avrohom’s children, including Yishmoale. Gishmak.
Ober says the Kli Yokor so gishmak, azoy: Avrohom did in fact give them gifts. Which and what gifts? Nu, let’s roll back the clock and recall that Soro was taken to the king’s palace when Avrohom made her fib and say she was his sister. (According to one medrish, he did this everywhere and everywhere they traveled where he sensed danger.) When released, from King Paroy’s clutches, Avrohom was given many gifts by the Egyptians. It was these parting gifts that he seemingly saved and now re-gifted to Kitura’s (she possible Hogor), also of Egyptian decent. Was Avrohom the first ever re-gifter?
A gittin Shabbis!
The Heylige Oisvorfer Ruv