Commentary - Year 1 Sabbath 20

Genesis 23:1-20   -   I Kings 1:1   -   Psalm 18   -   Acts 7:1-18


Av 22, 5761 / Aug 11, 2001

Av 20, 5764 / Aug 7,  2004 

Av 20, 5767 / Aug 4,  2007

Av 20, 5770 / July 27, 2010

Av 20, 5773 / July 27, 2013

Av 23, 5776 / Aug 27, 2016

Av 23, 5779 / Aug 24, 2019

Av 23, 5782 / Aug 20, 2022


Chayey Sarah / Lifetime of Sarah   SCRIPTURES should be read first


The Sages teach that the narrative of Sarah’s death immediately follows the Akeidah (binding of Isaac), because she died upon hearing of the event. This also explains why Avraham and Isaac were not present at her death. Avraham came to eulogize his beloved wife, who was named as Princess of all mankind (Sarah).


Four-hundred shekels was an inflated price for the burial plot, but Avraham insisted and paid it, and there should be no dispute of ownership. The Sages say, “The righteous say little and do much, but the wicked promise much and do not perform even a little:” Ephron publicly stated that he had given (free) the whole field, then suggested an exorbitant price for just the cave.


At this point, the Torah (v.16) spells Ephron with a vav omitted, indicating that he was diminished by the act.


The cave of Machpelah is the burial site of Avraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah. The name “Machpelah” means “double,” possibly representing the couples buried there. It is also traditionally known as the burial place of Adam and Eve. In AD 2000, after many people were killed through Arab-Israeli conflict, the area was given to “Palestinian” control, and the tomb structure where Jews had a seminary was immediately desecrated and destroyed (despite a formal agreement that this would not happen).


The following is mainly based on the Psalm (Consider Avraham, David, and Yeshua).

Psalm 18:43-46 – You have delivered me from the contentions of the people; You have placed me as head of the nations; a people whom I have not known serve me. As soon as they hear, they obey me; foreigners submit to me. Foreigners fade away, and come trembling out of their fortresses. Yahweh lives, and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God (Elohim) of my salvation,


In Torah, God is called “Elohim” – the God who is the Creator of all, and sits as Judge of His creation (“Elohim saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” – Genesis 1:31). He is also called “Yahweh” – the Eternal who is Gracious (“Noah found grace in the eyes of the Yahweh” – Genesis 5:8): this name of the Eternal Gracious One is used approximately 7,000 times in the Bible!

Torah uses these names in combination: “Yahweh Elohim” (often translated the LORD our God) – the Eternal, who is our Creator and Judge, is the Gracious One who reigns over the entire universe. This is the God we bless for providing for us (“Blessed are You, Yahweh Elohim, ruler of the universe, who created . . .”). This is the God who, by grace (while totally undeserved by us), became our Salvation: “Yeshua” means “Yahweh is Salvation” – “You shall call his name Yeshua: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

We are to love “Yahweh Elohim” with all our hearts, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves; these are the two great commandments, on which all other commandments hang (Deuteronomy 6:5 / Leviticus 19:18 and Matthew 22:37). Of the Ten Commandments, the first five hang on loving God, and the last five hang on loving our neighbor. With the detailed commandments that hang on and elaborate upon these, there are six-hundred-thirteen in the Torah.

These commandments were given to show us how we should have walked in the Spirit without them (Galatians 3:19). Yeshua said that He did not come to abrogate them (Matthew 5:17). John said that “love” is keeping His commandments (1 John 5:3, 2 John 1:6). The word “legalism” is never* found in the Bible, but “lawlessness” is condemned throughout (see 1 John 3:4). [*A few loose translations insert it.]

We cannot be saved, even partly, by keeping, or trying to keep, commandments. But, if we are believers in Yeshua, walking in God’s instruction is the natural, necessary result (James 1:20, Galatians 5:16).

Consider Torah, Prophets, Psalms, Yeshua, and Apostles --


Deuteronomy 11:1 – You shall love Yahweh your God, and keep His worship: His statutes, and His judgments (hukim and mishpatim, least to greatest), performing His commandments (mitzvot), always.


Isaiah 24:5-6 The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed Torah, violated statutes (hukim), and broke the everlasting covenant (brit). Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty. Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.


18:21-23 – [Consider applications to Avraham, David, Yeshua, and us.] For I have kept the ways of Yahweh, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His judgments (mishpatim – the moral laws) were before me, and I did not put away His statutes (hukim – the commands that are not intuitive) from me (most obvious to non-intuitive). I was also blameless with Him (including the intermediate edos – rituals and festivals).

105:7-10 – He is Yahweh Elohim; His judgments (mishpatim) are in all the earth. He has remembered His covenant (brit) forever, the Word which He commanded to a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Avraham, and His oath to Isaac. Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute (huk), to Israel as an everlasting covenant,

119:160 – The sum of Your Word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments (mishpatim) is everlasting.


Yeshua / Matthew 5:17-19 – Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say to you, till heaven and earth shall pass away, one yod or one serif shall by no means pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whoever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [Note that our position in eternity (not our salvation) is dependent upon performing and teaching His mitzvot – from mishpatim to hukim (the least obvious).]

Paul / Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.

John / 1 John 3: 4 – Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; for sin is lawlessness (Gr. anomia – against Torah ways).

2 John 1:6 – For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Examples / Difficulties:

Colossians 2:16-17 – Therefore let no man condemn you in regard to food or drink or for observing a Festival or a New Moon or a Sabbath day – for these are a prophetic shadow of things to come, Messiah Himself being the body (casting the shadow). This passage is commonly turned on its head, used to condemn us for observing Biblical Festivals and Sabbath!

If Paul (1 Corinthians 7:18) meant that circumcision should no longer be done, then he contradicted his words by his actions (Acts 16:3)! There is a need to study the context of Paul’s teaching.

The Epistle to the Hebrews does not say that Torah changed. It shows a change in the priesthood – from the substitute Levitical priesthood (Numbers 3:12), back to the original Malchi-tzedek priesthood-of-the-firstborn.

Colossians 2:14 does not say that God’s Law was nailed to the cross: it is not His commandments that are referred to as “against us” or “hostile toward us” (they are “not grievous”); it is the “rule of death” that is against us and hostile toward us – “the soul that sinneth, it shall die!” It is this rule of death that was consummated against Yeshua upon the cross, and its dominion over us was annulled. Torah was not  annulled, but the penalty of death against us was consummated upon our substitute – the very one prophetically pictured and afterwards memorialized by sacrificial offerings (which are only temporarily suspended because of the lack of a physical Temple).

If sacrificial offerings are not still proper memorials of Yeshua (as the Passover in Luke 22:19), then why did the Apostle Paul offer them at the Temple long after the crucifixion (Acts 21:26), and why will they be offered in the future Millennium by God’s direction (Ezekiel 46:1-7)?


Psalm 139:23-24 – Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."


Reader 1* Amen 1 Now Sarah’s lifetime was one hundred years, twenty years, and seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2 Sarah died in Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan; and Avraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.

Reader 2* Amen 3 Then Avraham rose from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying, 4 "I am a stranger and a sojourner among you; give me a burial site among you that I may bury my dead out of my sight." 5 The sons of Heth answered Avraham, saying to him, 6 "Hear us, my lord, you are a mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our graves; none of us will refuse you his grave for burying your dead."

Reader 3* Amen 7 So Avraham rose and bowed to the people of the land, the sons of Heth. 8 And he spoke with them, saying, "If it is your wish for me to bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and approach Ephron the son of Zohar for me, 9 that he may give me the cave of Machpelah which he owns, which is at the end of his field; for the full price let him give it to me in your presence for a burial site."

Reader 4* Amen 10 Now Ephron was sitting among the sons of Heth; and Ephron the Hittite answered Avraham in the hearing of the sons of Heth; even of all who went in at the gate of his city, saying, 11 "No, my lord, hear 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."

Reader 5* Amen 12 And Avraham bowed before the people of the land. 13 He spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying, "If you will only please listen to me; I will give the price of the field, accept it from me that I may bury my dead there."

Reader 6* Amen 14 Then Ephron answered Avraham, saying to him, 15 "My lord, listen to me; a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is that between me and you? So bury your dead." 16 Avraham listened to Ephron; and Avraham weighed out for Ephron the silver which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, commercial standard.

Reader 7* Amen 17 So Ephron's field, which was in Machpelah, which faced Mamre, the field and cave which was in it, and all the trees which were in the field, that were within all the confines of its border, were deeded over 18 to Avraham for a possession in the presence of the sons of Heth, before all who went in at the gate of his city. 19 After this, Avraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field at Machpelah facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 So the field and the cave that is in it, were deeded over to Avraham for a burial site by the sons of Heth.


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."



"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."


1 Kings 1:1

Reader 8* Amen 1 Now King David was old, advanced in age; and they covered him with clothes, but he could not keep warm.


Psalm 18   (To be sung.)  For the choir director. A Psalm of David the servant of Yahweh, who spoke to Yahweh the words of this song in the day that Yahweh delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said:

1 "I love You, O Yahweh, my strength." 2 Yahweh is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I call upon Yahweh, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. 4 The cords of death encompassed me, and the torrents of ungodliness terrified me. 5 The cords of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called upon Yahweh, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears. 7 Then the earth shook and quaked; and the foundations of the mountains were trembling and were shaken, because He was angry. 8 Smoke went up out of His nostrils, and fire from His mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it. 9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down with thick darkness under His feet. 10 He rode upon a cherub and flew; and He sped upon the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him, Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. 12 From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds, hailstones and coals of fire. 13 Yahweh also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered His voice, hailstones and coals of fire. 14 He sent out His arrows, and scattered them, and lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them. 15 Then the channels of water appeared, and the foundations of the world were laid bare At Your rebuke, O Yahweh, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils. 16 He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. 17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. 18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but Yahweh was my stay. 19 He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me. 20 Yahweh has rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. 21 For I have kept the ways of Yahweh, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 22 For all His ordinances were before me, and I did not put away His statutes from me. 23 I was also blameless with Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity. 24 Therefore Yahweh has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes. 25 With the kind You show Yourself kind; with the blameless You show Yourself blameless; 26 with the pure You show Yourself pure, and with the crooked You show Yourself astute. 27 For You save an afflicted people, but haughty eyes You abase. 28 For You light my lamp; Yahweh my God illumines my darkness. 29 For by You I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall. 30 As for God, His way is blameless; the word of Yahweh is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. 31 For who is God, but Yahweh? And who is a rock, except our God, 32 The God who girds me with strength and makes my way blameless? 33 He makes my feet like hinds' feet, and sets me upon my high places. 34 He trains my hands for battle, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 35 You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand upholds me; and Your gentleness makes me great. 36 You enlarge my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped. 37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them, and I did not turn back until they were consumed. 38 I shattered them, so that they were not able to rise; they fell under my feet. 39 For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me. 40 You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me, and I destroyed those who hated me. 41 They cried for help, but there was none to save, even to Yahweh, but He did not answer them. 42 Then I beat them fine as the dust before the wind; I emptied them out as the mire of the streets. 43 You have delivered me from the contentions of the people; You have placed me as head of the nations; a people whom I have not known serve me. 44 As soon as they hear, they obey me; foreigners submit to me. 45 Foreigners fade away, and come trembling out of their fortresses. 46 Yahweh lives, and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of my salvation, 47 The God who executes vengeance for me, and subdues peoples under me. 48 He delivers me from my enemies; surely You lift me above those who rise up against me; You rescue me from the violent man. 49 Therefore I will give thanks to You among the nations, O Yahweh, and I will sing praises to Your name. 50 He gives great deliverance to His king, and shows lovingkindness to His anointed, to David and his descendants forever.



Acts 7:1-18

Reader 9* Amen 1 And the high priest said, "Are these things so?" 2 And Stephen said, "Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Avraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and said to him, 'Depart from your country and your relatives, and come into the land that I will show you.' 4 "Then he departed from the land of the Chaldeans, and settled in Haran. And from there, after his father died, God removed him into this country in which you are now living. 5 "And He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground; and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that He would give it to him as a possession, and to his offspring after him.

Reader 10* Amen 6 "But God spoke to this effect, that his offspring would be aliens in a foreign land, and that they would be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years. 7 "'And whatever nation to which they shall be in bondage I Myself will judge,' said God, 'and after that they will come out and serve Me in this place.' 8 "And He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Avraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. 9 "And the patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. And yet God was with him, 10 and rescued him from all his afflictions, and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his household.

Reader 11* Amen 11 "Now a famine came over all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction with it; and our fathers could find no food. 12 "But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time. 13 "And on the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph's family was disclosed to Pharaoh. 14 "And Joseph sent word and invited Jacob his father and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five persons in all. 15 "And Jacob went down to Egypt and there passed away, he and our fathers. 16 "And from there they were removed to Shechem, and laid in the tomb which Avraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem. 17 "But as the time of the promise was approaching which God had assured to Avraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt, 18 until there arose another king over Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph.

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."


© 2004  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)