Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Parshas Chaye Sarah 5776

Why is Hebron called Kiriath Arba?

The Torah writes (Genesis 23:2):
And Sarah died in Kiriath Arba—the same is Hebron—in the land of Canaan; and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.
Rashi (ibid) provides two explanations deriving from the word "Arba" meaning "four":
Because of the four giants who lived there: Ahiman, Sheshai, Talmai and their father. Another explanation: because of the four couples who were buried there, each with his wife - Adam and Chava, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebeccah, Jacob and Leah.
The Rashbam (Genesis 23:2) cites a third explanation - that it was called after a famous person named Arba who was the grandfather of the giants:
The name of the person who founded or owned this town was Arba. We know this from Joshua (15:13) where he is described as the father of a giant. The reference to a town by mentioning an outstanding citizen is familiar to us from Numbers (21:27-29) where the capital of the Emorites is described as Krias Sichon - the city of Sichon
The source of the Rashbam is from the Book of Joshua (15:13-14) (see also Rashi there citing the same explanation):
And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a portion among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, even Kiriath-arba, which Arba was the father of Anak—the same is Hebron. And Caleb drove out thence the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak.
[see also our earlier post about giants]

Targum Jonathan (Deuteronomy 1:28) identifies them as the sons of Ephron:
and the sons of Ephron the giant were also there
Tosefta deTargum (Joshua 15:13) identifies the father of the "Anak" as Tzohar, the father of Ephron, and "Anak" as Ephron.

Yalkut Shemoni (ibid) cites more explanations, also based on the word "Arba" - four:
Why was it called Kiriath Arba? Because of the four righteous men who lived there - Aner, Eshcol, Mamre and Abraham. And of the four righteous men who got circumcised there, and because of the four matriarchs who were buried there - Chava, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah. And four men - Anak and his three sons. And from there Abraham our father chased after the four kings. Also, the city changed owners four times: first to tribe of Judah, then to Caleb, then to Priests and then to Levites.
Midrash haGadol (ibid) cites more explanations:
... because of the four patriarchs that were buried there - Adam, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ... because it one of four places in Israel - Dana, Krias Sana, Tamnas Serach and Hebron ... because Abraham left it like the light of the sun that was created on the fourth day ... because of the four cries that she cried at her passing...

Who was Keturah, the Wife of Abraham?

The Torah writes (Genesis 25:1):
And Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah
Rashi (ibid) says this as Hagar:
Keturah - this is Hagar, and she is called Keturah because her deeds were as sweet as incense ...
The Rashbam (ibid) disagrees (see also Ibn Ezra):
קטורה, according to the plain meaning of the text this woman was not identical with Hagar.
Yalkut Shemoni (Job 8, 904) says she was from Japheth:
And three wives married Abraham - Sarah, a descendent of Shem, Keturah, a descendent of Japheth and Hagar, a descendent of Ham
Sefer HaYashar (ibid) says she was a Canaanite

The Talmud (Zevachim 62b) says her name was Yochani 

[see also Sefer Mayim Rabim, pp. 147 for in-depth discussion]

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