Saturday, November 14, 2009

Jacob and Esau are born

And when the time came, the twins were born.

The first was very red at birth. He was covered with so much hair that one would think he was wearing a piece of clothing. So they called him Esau which means hair.

Then the other twin was born with his hand grasping Esau's heel. So they called him Jacob which means he grasps at the heel, but it also mean deceive which will be important shortly in our story. Isaac was sixty years old when the twins were born.

Twins Jacob and Esau

Today, we tell the history of the family of Isaac, the son of Abraham. Did you enjoy your trip to Israel? What were some of the high points?

< = = = Ein Gedi and Masada were awesome. I liked celebrating Shabatt in Israel. The buffet breakfast at the hotels, I liked everything. We hired an armored bus and went to Rachel's tomb, Hebron, and the cave of the patriarch's that you have been telling me about. And we went to Ramat David, where my cousin flies an F16 and he let me climb into the cockpit, it was all great.

Excellent, well let's begin with our story. When Isaac was forty years old, he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan-aram and the sister of Laban. Isaac pleaded with the LORD to give Rebekah a child because she was childless. So the LORD answered Isaac's prayer, and his wife became pregnant with twins.

But the two children struggled with each other in her womb. So she went to ask the LORD about it. "Why is this happening to me?" she asked. And the LORD told her, "The sons in your womb will become two rival nations. One nation will be stronger than the other; the descendants of your older son will serve the descendants of your younger son."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Abraham Marries Keturah

This picture was adapted from here.

Now Abraham married again with the chuppah tent, the veil ceremony and the traditional (as in the second time, but it will become a tradition) blessing. Keturah was his new wife, and she bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Jokshan's two sons were Sheba and Dedan. Dedan's descendants were the Asshurites, Letushites, and Leummites. Midian's sons were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. These were all descendants of Abraham through Keturah.

< = = = And where are they today?

Well Abraham sent them away to the east, and they settled in the Trans Jordan region. They were not a major people, her sons did not possess the gates of their enemies and they were assimilated over time into other tribes.

Abraham left everything he owned to his son Isaac, the son of promise. But before he died, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them off to the east, away from Isaac.

< = = = Why do the scriptures say concubine? We just saw him get married.

It simply denotes a lower status. And that is why it is so significant he left everything to Isaac. Sarah, his childhood sweetheart, was the love of his life and the line that the manifested the promise of God:

I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you a blessing to others.

I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you."

Ishmael's Descendants

This picture was adapted from here.

This is the history of the descendants of Ishmael, the son of Abraham through Hagar, Sarah's Egyptian servant. Here is a list, by their names and clans, of Ishmael's descendants: The oldest was Nebaioth, followed by Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah.

These twelve sons of Ishmael became the founders of twelve tribes that bore their names, listed according to the places they settled and camped. Ishmael finally died at the age of 137 and joined his ancestors in death.

< = = = Are these names important to know?
Tough question, neither the Torah because they are not the children of the promise or other literature tracks them exactly so they are lost except for the records God Keeps. That said, you will recall God promised and God did make them a great nation. You will recall:
"This son of yours will be a wild one--free and untamed as a wild donkey! He will be against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live at odds with the rest of his brothers."
However, God also said:
As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked. I will cause him to multiply and become a great nation. Twelve princes will be among his descendants.

The bottom line, because of the diaspora, the scattering of the Jewish peoples, there is probably more blood of Abraham in many of the Middle Eastern Islamic people than in the Jews. They are descendants of Abraham not just through Ismael, but also through the sons of Keturah. Never underestimate them Issy, God has richly blessed them for the sake of Abraham. Never forget Abraham's request of God:
And Abraham said to God, "Yes, may Ishmael enjoy your special blessing!"
Nonetheless, the sons and daughters of the promise God made to Abraham come through the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That is what matters.

Ishmael's descendants were scattered across the country from Havilah to Shur, which is east of Egypt in the direction of Asshur, the first capital of Assyria. The clans descended from Ishmael camped close to one another.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Abraham is buried in the cave at Macpelah

<= = = Mr. Comfort, it is amazing we are on the same flight. And by the way, that does not look like a cave, it looks like a building.

We are both going to Israel, El Al flies to Israel, my miles are on El Al what is amazing about that. And it is a building, a building with a lot of history. It is the oldest site in Jewish history, but like the temple mount, we are denied. Do you know that Jews can only enter Ohel Yitzhak ten days a year? It is under Muslim control and we are denied.

< = = = Who built the building?

None other than Herod the Great, it is actually the best condition Herodian building, others modified it, Herod simply enclosed it, there was no roof. Anyway, let's finish this last story in the life of Patriarch Abraham.

Abraham lived for 175 years, and he died at a ripe old age, joining his ancestors in death. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, near Mamre, about half way between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite. All of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried there except Rachel, who was buried near Bethlehem. This was the field Abraham had purchased from the Hittites, at full price, where he had buried his wife Sarah.

Rebekah arrives at Isaac and Abraham's home

I understand you begin your trip to Israel tomorrow, are you excited?

< = = = Yes, sir, actually we don't I just take a quick flight to New York and we are going to get everyone together, some of the people are traveling from as far away as Kauai. The Wednesday we go.

It should be fun, though it is a long flight. OK, today, Rebekah will meet Isaac.

So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham's servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, "Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies."

Then Rebekah and her maids got ready and mounted their camels and went back with the man. So the servant took Rebekah and left.

Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev. Now you remember this place, it is where Hagar was told to return to her mistress.

Then the angel of the LORD said, "Return to your mistress and submit to her authority." The angel added, "I will give you more descendants than you can count." And the angel also said, "You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael, which means "God hears" for the LORD has heard about your misery.

The angel of the LORD continued, "This son of yours will be a wild one--free and untamed as a wild donkey! He will be against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live at odds with the rest of his brothers."

Thereafter, Hagar referred to the LORD, who had spoken to her, as "the God who sees me," (El-roi) for she said, "I have seen the One who sees me!" Later that well was named Beer-lahairoi, which means “well of the Living One who sees me.” and it can still be found between Kadesh and Bered.

Well that is where Isaac was living. He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching.

Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel and asked the servant, "Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?" "He is my master," the servant Eleazar, whose name means God, My Help, answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.

< = = = So this is a love at first sight sort of thing?

Very much so, they saw and both pretty much knew from a distance and as Rebekah got closer and Issac saw how beautiful she was, his heart started beating very fast, he was strong and in top physical shape, but he seriously wondered if he would be OK.

Then the servant told Isaac all he had done and Issac started to calm down. Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. And to this day, when Jewish people marry they marry under a tent, a chuppah and during the ceremony there is the badekin, or veiling for Rebekah was veiled. And of course when we marry today, the traditional blessing is the blessing her people gave her on parting, " may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies." So Rebekah became the wife of Isaac, and he loved her very much; and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Eleazar's Story About Rebekah

< = = = You used to come every week and noww you show up once a month, this is interesting, you are like the wind, you come and go.

This is not the first time someone has referred to me as being like the wind. Rosh Hashanah is upon us. Are you prepared for Yamim Noraim? Also, how are you doing getting ready for your trip to Israel? Oh, and I brought you something.

<= = = That is a thick pile of money, why so much money?

Actually it is only a hundred dollars, but they are all one dollar bills. It is easy to dry up in the Holy Land and you can get a water bottle almost everywhere for a dollar bill.

< = = = I thought they used the Shekel, in fact I know the currency is the Sheckel.

If it doesn't work you can spend the money when you get back, but give it a try. So now Eleazar needs to pop the question, will they agree to send Rebekah back with him as a bride for Issac.

Now if you will show kindness and faithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so I may know which way to turn."

Laban, Rebekah's brother and Bethuel, her father, answered, "This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or the other. Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master's son, as the Lord has directed."

@Abraham, I am inbound with Rebekah, well comported and quite the looker, you will be pleased.

When Abraham's servant heard what they said, he bowed down to the ground before the Lord. Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother. Then they had supper, and the servant and the men with him stayed there overnight. When they got up the next morning, he said, "Send me on my way to my master."

But her brother and her mother replied, "Let the girl remain with us ten days or so; then you may go."

< = = = Where is Bethuel right about now, this is his daughter.

Well many Midrash say that he was against the wedding and so he was struck down by G-d. Actually, he had a bit of a drinking problem and snuck out to get a few drinks ahead of the party's pace. Anyway, to get to the conclusion of this story.

Then Eleazar said to them, "Do not detain me, now that the Lord has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master." Then they said, "Let's call the girl and ask her about it." So they called Rebekah and asked her, "Will you go with this man?" "I will go," she said.

< = = = She was very brave to leave her home like that.

Well, with a boozer of a father and we will learn Laban is no prize, she was probably pretty happy to get in a different situation.