Shabbat Chayay Sarah (Gen. 23:1-25:18)

The trope (chanting of the Torah) for the portion this week includes the “shalshelet” – a musical sequence that only appears four times in all of Torah (Gen. 19:16, 24:12, 39:8; Lev. 8:23).

It always appears at the beginning of a verse and in each case, it indicates indecision or wavering. The most famous of these comes later on, when Potiphar’s wife asks Joseph to lie with her and he says no but the trope – which is shalshelet –  indicates that Joseph may have been sorely tempted by her invitation.

Shalshelet appears this week as Eliezar prays to God asking for guidance to find the right girl to marry Isaac. The Shalshelet hints that his heart may not be in it. The Rabbis speculate that Eliezar had a daughter himself, and wanted Isaac to marry her instead.

You can hear the shalshelet trope in this weeks’ portion here:

SO… limited only by your creativity and the category of food which you will be assigned (when you tell us you are joining us) please bring something which is like shalshelet – indecisive, wavering, or conflicted.

2 Responses to “Shabbat Chayay Sarah (Gen. 23:1-25:18)”

  1. We love Chayei Sarah for so many reasons – my daughter (whose middle name is Rivka) has been getting excited for WEEKS. And my older son has been going on and on about the Shalsheles for three years now. I am definitely going to demand a performance from him of that particular aliyah. And he will be impressed that I know!
    Looking forward to perusing the rest of your blog… 🙂

    • leon says:

      There’s something compelling about this portion, and I’m only just starting to suss it out. I’m giving the d’var Torah this week at our shul (don’t tell anyone, but I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing!), but what I’m seeing is that this portion resonates with people musically. I’ve seen connections to all TYPES of songs – broadway tunes, British invasion stuff and more. Expect to see it posted once I get if figured out (which might be AFTER Shabbat, given my current pace.)

      Thanks for commenting and I hope to see you back here often!

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