Chayei Sarah 5th aliyah
Isaac’s Meditation, by Tzvi Schnee
November 21, 2019 (23 Chesvan 5780)
“And Isaac came from the way of Beer-lahai-roi; for he dwelt in the land of the South. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide; and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, there were camels coming.
– Genesis 24:62-63, JPS 1917 Tanach
After the Akeidah (the Binding of Isaac), there is no mention of Isaac until the Torah mentions, “And Isaac came from the way of Beer-lahai-roi.” In English, “the Well of the Living One Who Appeared to Me.” This is where Hagar was banished to temporarily; she prayed there to H’Shem, Who answered her prayer. It is conjectured by chazal (the sages), that Isaac, during the long wait for Eliezer to find a wife for him, Isaac prayed at the location of that well, for Eliezer’s mission to be successful.
Afterwards, he apparently went to Hebron, where he “went out to meditate in the field.” It is commented upon that this is the field of Machpaleh, located in Hebron, where his mother Sarah was buried. Therefore, it could be understood that he was praying near his mother’s kever (grave), in hope of his beshert (soulmate), being found through H’Shem’s intervention (see Eliezer’s Prayer).
Because Isaac meditated (read prayed) in the field “at the eventide,” i. e., towards evening, the minchah (afternoon prayer) is credited to him. Additionally, the notion that he prayed at his mother’s kever, indicates how through her merit Isaac’s prayers ascended to H’Shem. Praying at the keverim (graves) of the tzaddikim (righteous persons) is a long-established tradition within Judaism.
Based on a d’var Torah for Chayei Sarah,
entitled, “So What was Yitzchak Doing?”
21 November 2019
by Chief Rabbi Mirvis, http://www.chiefrabbi.org