Haftarah of Parshat Chaye Sarah - 5761
between the Haftarah and the Parshah
enough, the following connection is not between the Parshah and the Haftarah.
Rather, it is between the Parshah and the Chapter of the Prophets immediately
preceding the Haftarah. That
Chapter is not even in the same Book, but rather in the
Book that has just been
completed; namely Shmuel II. This,
incidentally, shows the continuity
of this part of the Bible, where we find that from Yehoshua
through "Shoftim"/Judges through Shmuel
I and II through "Melachim"/Kings
I and II, the text is one
continuous narrative of the early centuries
(approximately 700 years) of the
residence of the Jewish People in the Land of Israel. The connection:
In the Parshah,
Avraham wishes to purchase the Meorat
HaMachpelah, which will become the Burial Place of the "Avot,"
the Forefathers and the "Imahot,"
the Founding Mothers of the Jewish People, located in Chevron, from Ephron
HaChiti. Ephron initially offers the property to Avraham as a gift.
Avraham declines to accept it as a gift and instead purchases it for
a sum without bargaining, and with unquestionably legal tender.
Immediately preceding the Haftarah, at the end of the last chapter of Shmuel II,
Chapter 24, Verses 18-25, we find the account of the purchase of another
great spiritual treasure, the Temple
Mount, the site of the Beit
HaMikdash, by King
David from Aravna HaYevusi. Aravna
also offers the site initially as a gift, but David refuses to accept it on
those terms. Anticipating that
this will be the place of the Temple, he pays for the entire field in
addition to the threshing floor that was the initial object of the purchase.
In the Parshah,
the Torah teaches us
about the activities of Avraham
Avinu in his final years.
Avraham was the Founding Father of the Jewish People, who introduced into the
world the idea of Monotheism, the Existence of One and Only One G-d, Who had Created the World, and everything in
it, Who did not reside in the world, but in Whom the World resided.
He represented the Spiritual beginning and the Past of the Jewish People.
In the Haftarah,
we learn of the activities of David HaMelech in his final years. He was
the one who conceived the idea of building the Beit HaMikdash for the Honor
although he would not be allowed to build it, because he had been involved
in wars, but rather it would be built by his son, Shelomoh
HaMelech, King Solomon. David
represented the beginning of the Dynasty of Jewish Kings which, though
absent from the world now, would ultimately re-appear in the person of the
the Anointed Redeemer of Israel. Thus
David represents the Destiny and the
Future of the Jewish People.
In the Parshiyot
that we are reading now, one of the major themes is the succession, and the blessing and inheritance of first Avraham
- Yitzchak or Yishmael,
then of Yitzchak - Yaakov
or Esav. These were titanic
struggles for the inheritance of the Leadership of the Spiritual world,
among the nations, and for the title of "The Chosen Nation."
In the Haftarah,
we also find a continuation of the struggle among the sons of David for the succession
to his throne. In the
Haftarah, we see the rebellion of Adoniyahu
ben Chagit, who allied himself with Yoav ben Tzeruyah, as his Military
Advisor and with Evyatar HaCohen, as his Spiritual Advisor.
Earlier, in Shmuel II, Chapter 18, there is recounted the end of the
rebellion of Avshalom, a beloved son of David, with Avshalom's death.
In the Parshiyot,
the attempt by Yishmael to be the heir of Avraham and to block the
succession by Yitzchak is thwarted by "Sarah
Imenu," the Founding Mother
of the Jewish People, who was considered greater
in prophecy than Avraham. Likewise,
the attempt by Esav to be the inheritor of Yitzchak and the recipient of his
blessing, was thwarted by "Rivkah
Imenu," who had the greater
insight into the characters of her two sons, and loved Yaakov.
In the Haftarah,
the rebellion of Adiniyahu is thwarted also through the efforts of a woman,
Bat-Sheva, mother of Shelomoh, and a prophet; namely
Nathan the Prophet.
In this Parshah and nearby Parshiyot, we find that both Avraham and Sarah are
"tested." Last week, Avraham
faced the ultimate test of Faith, and was about to obey HaShem's command
to sacrifice his son, Yitzchak. In this week's Parshah, according to the
Midrash, Sarah is informed of the Akeidah, and the shock
of the idea of sacrificing Yitzchak is what kills her.
HaShem does not make things easy for his greatest heroes.
They will be fully rewarded in the World-to-Come.
In the Haftarah,
and immediately preceding it, David is punished (at the end of Shmuel II)
for counting the Jewish People not at
the command of HaShem. In
the Haftarah, he is punished for his
sin with Bat-Sheva, and he is unable
to find warmth no matter how he tries and how his surrounding court
tries for him by finding the beautiful and righteous Avishag HaShunamit to
be his nurse and companion.
Summary and Selective Commentary on the Haftarah
Summary of the Haftarah
is divided into five sections:
is very old, and is unable to become warm, no matter how many coverings are
used to cover him. A beautiful woman is sought to be his bedside companion,
and the beautiful and righteous virgin who is selected is Avishag HaShunamit.
She assumes her duties but the King does not live with her.
forms around Prince Adoniyahu, son of
Chagit, who has never been disciplined effectively by his father, to
make him give up his royal ambitions. The
conspiracy includes the general Yoav ben Tzeruyah, the Priest Evyatar but
excludes those who remain loyal to David: Tzadok HaCohen. The general
Benayahu ben Yehoyada, the Prophet Nathan, and the warriors Shimi and Geri. Adoniyahu makes a celebration, to which he invites the other
princes, sons of David, but pointedly
Nathan approaches Bat-Sheva to discuss a mission vital to her life, the life
of her son, and probably the lives of the others who have remained loyal to
David. He advises her to
approach the King and remind him that he had promised
the succession to Shelomoh, and to inquire why then had Adoniyahu
assumed the role of heir apparent? Nathan
says that he will enter the conversation at that point and fill in
follows Nathan's advice and enters the inner chambers of the King.
She reminds him of his oath to her that her son would be King after
him, and informs him that Adoniyahu has just about assumed the Kingship
already. He has sacrificed a
multitude of sacrifices, and important officers are involved in the would-be
coronation, but she and
Shelomoh and other loyalists have been excluded. She says that her life and Shelomo's are in danger if the
King does not intervene.
enters at that point and asks the King if he has indeed changed his mind and
decided to award the succession to Adoniyahu.
For a celebration is already in progress, to which he and Tzadok and
Benayahu and Shelomoh have not been invited.
Has the King authorized the acts of Adoniyahu?
Bat-Sheva to return to his presence and renews his oath to her that Shelomoh her son will rule after him, and he will begin the
implementation of this royal edict this
very day! Bat-Sheva
returns, bows to him, and says "May His Majesty the King live
Selective Commentary on the Haftarah
"Melachim" I (1:1)
King David was old"
was seventy, which we know because he began to rule at the age of thirty and
he ruled forty years
they covered him with garments, but they didn't warm him"
say that the garments didn't warm him because he had shamed the garments of
King Shaul when he cut a corner off his royal robe when Shaul was pursuing
him, to show him that he could have killed him but refrained from doing so.
Melachim I (1,6)
the King did not discipline him
from the time of his youth"
From this we learn that he who does not discipline his child
endangers his life.
Melachim I (1,7)
his plans included Yoav ben Tzeruyah
why Yoav ben Tzeruyah was selected by Adoniyahu.
The reason was that he knew that Yoav would be a willing participant
because Yoav knew that David was angry with him for his role in the killing
of Avshalom and in the killing of
Avner and Amasa bnei Yeter. Yoav
knew that David would command his successor to replace him, so Adoniyahu
thought that Yoav would shift his loyalty from David to himself as a part of
Rabbi Pinchas Frankel
Rabbi Frankel is an Educational Coordinator at the OU