Chapter 25 opens with Abraham’s remarriage to a woman names Keturah. Who is she? Turns out, according to Rashi, that she is actually Hagar, who has behaved since she left Abraham and Sarah. The Hebrew shoresh (root) for her name is Ketoret -- her actions were beautiful. They have six children together. Abraham sets them all up with what they need and sends them east away from Isaac. Abraham dies at 175 years old, and the brothers who haven’t spoken in years, Isaac and Ishmael, come back together in love to bury their father.

"Tomb of Abraham," cenotaph above the cave traditionally considered to be the burial place of Abraham and Sarah in the Cave of the Patriarchs. Photo by Eric Stoltz, March 2006 via Wikimedia CC The end of this parsha is mainly progeny of Abraham. Ishmael dies at 137 leaving many children.

In this parsha we talk about loving-kindness and severity and the need for balance. Anything in its essential form is not complete, according to the Kabbala. Chesed (loving-kindness) alone is not successful. For example, consider how foolish is the parent who won’t discipline a child running with scissors because she doesn’t want to stifle the child or make him feel sad. It’s not a complete picture. Not only this, but where does that complete kindness come from? Like Ishmael who was seeking something selfish or like Abraham who believed we were all deserving and equal? Sarah balanced Abraham out just as we will learn in the coming parshot how Rivka balances Yitzhak out.

Parshat Chayei Sarah from

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