Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Parshas Chaye Sarah 5777

The Giants of "Kriath Arba"

The Torah writes (Genesis 23:1-2):
Sarah’s lifetime—the span of Sarah’s life—came to one hundred and twenty-seven years. Sarah died in Kiriath-arba—now Hebron—in the land of Canaan; and Abraham proceeded to mourn for Sarah and to bewail her.  
Rashi (ibid) explains:
literally, the city of the Four, and it was so called because of the four giants who lived there: Ahiman, Sheshai, Talmai and their father (Numbers 13:22).
The verse referenced by Rashi (Numbers 13:22) states as follows:
They went up into the Negeb and came to Hebron, where lived Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the Anakites.—Now Hebron was founded seven years before Zoan of Egypt.—
Rashi's explanation is revolves around the term "four" that this was the city of four people. The Radak adds (ibid):
Arba was the name of a man whose was known by this “nickname” as he had three sons, and they, just as he himself were giants, so that there were four giants.

However, others explain differently that this is a name of a person, as explained by the Rashbam (ibid):
Tthe 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 קרית סיחון, the city of Sichon
The verses in Joshua (15:13-14) explain further:
In accordance with the LORD’s command to Joshua, Caleb son of Jephunneh was given a portion among the Judites, namely, Kiriath-arba—that is, Hebron. ([Arba] was the father of Anak.) Caleb dislodged from there the three Anakites: Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, descendants of Anak.  
We find similarly later on (Genesis 33:18) in the Rashbam:
ויבא יעקב שלם, to the city named Shalem. The construction is similar to ותבאנה בית לחם, “they arrived at Bet Lechem.” (Ruth 1:19) - עיר שכם, the city of Shechem. The description parallels Numbers 21:26 where Cheshbon is described as the city of Sichon, King of the Emorites. Anyone who explains Shechem as being the name of the city errs. We do not find anywhere that a city is described in such terms, i.e. as עיר ציון, or as עיר ירושלים. Invariably such cities are described with the appropriate definitive article ה i.e. as the word העיר following the name of the city in question. et al.

See also - Targum Jonathan (Deuteronomy 1:28) identifies the giants 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. 

Why was Sarah in Hebron?

According to Rashi (Genesis 23:19) Abraham and Sarah lived in Hebron at this time (also see Ramban):
AND ABRAHAM DWELT AT BEER-SHEBA — This does not mean really dwelling there but merely staying there on his way home, because he was, as a matter of fact, living at Hebron. Twelve years before the Binding of Isaac he had left Beer-Sheba and had gone to Hebron, as it is said, (21:34) ‘‘And Abraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines many days”, i.e. exceeding in number the earlier days when he had resided at Hebron — altogether 26 years, as we have explained above (21:34).
and above (21:34) in Rashi:
Now, here it is written that he sojourned in the land of the Philistines ימים רבים more days, which means more than the preceding days in Hebron. Scripture does not intend by these words to leave the number indefinite, but to state it explicitly, for if the “more days” exceeded the former period in Hebron by two years or more, it would have said so plainly, so that you must admit that the excess was only one year — that gives 26 years in the land of the Philistines. He immediately left there and returned to Hebron, and that year was 12 years before the Binding of Isaac. All this is explained in Seder Olam (See Note on Genesis 10:25).
(There are other opinions that place Abraham and Sarah in Beer Sheba at this time)

According to Sefer HaYashar (ibid) Sarah went to Hebron to find out about her son after Satan told her about the Akeidah. When she came to Hebron, Satan told her that he lied and she died from the shock.

Why Did Sarah Die?

According to Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer (33) she died because Satan told her about Isaac being sacrificed on the Altar

According to Vayikra Rabbah (20:2) she died when Isaac told her the story of the Akeidah (some learn this was Satan in the form of Isaac)

According to Bereishis Rabbah (45:5) she was supposed to live until the same age as Abraham but her time was cut short by 31 years because she told Abraham "May G-d judge between me and you" (see above 16:5)

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