How many ladies were on camels in parsha chayei sarah?

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How many ladies were on camels in parsha chayei sarah?

Postby Sander » Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:21 pm

Torah says that ladies got on camels with Rebecca. There were 10 camels, so if all the camels were occupied, there were 10 ladies. Rebecca plus 9 other ladies.

The Torah describes these ladies as "her maidens" (na'aroteha). According to talmud, Rebecca was between 11 and 14 years old at the time. So I have to think, these ladies that went with Rebecca were probably of similar age? Or were they older ladies, what we might think of as nannies or chaperones?

Genesis Chapter 24:
59. So they sent away Rebecca their sister and her nurse and Abraham's servant and his men.
נט. וַיְשַׁלְּחוּ אֶת רִבְקָה אֲחֹתָם וְאֶת מֵנִקְתָּהּ וְאֶת עֶבֶד אַבְרָהָם וְאֶת אֲנָשָׁיו:
60. And they blessed Rebecca and said to her, "Our sister, may you become thousands of myriads, and may your seed inherit the cities of their enemies."
ס. וַיְבָרֲכוּ אֶת רִבְקָה וַיֹּאמְרוּ לָהּ אֲחֹתֵנוּ אַתְּ הֲיִי לְאַלְפֵי רְבָבָה וְיִירַשׁ זַרְעֵךְ אֵת שַׁעַר שֹׂנְאָיו:
61. And Rebecca and her maidens arose and rode on the camels, and they followed the man; and the servant took Rebecca and left.
סא. וַתָּקָם רִבְקָה וְנַעֲרֹתֶיהָ וַתִּרְכַּבְנָה עַל הַגְּמַלִּים וַתֵּלַכְנָה אַחֲרֵי הָאִישׁ וַיִּקַּח הָעֶבֶד אֶת רִבְקָה וַיֵּלַךְ:

When these ladies arrive in Israel, Torah says:
63. And Isaac went forth to pray in the field towards evening, and he lifted his eyes and saw, and behold, camels were approaching. סג. וַיֵּצֵא יִצְחָק לָשׂוּחַ בַּשָּׂדֶה לִפְנוֹת עָרֶב וַיִּשָּׂא עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה גְמַלִּים בָּאִים:
64. And Rebecca lifted her eyes, and saw Isaac, and she let herself down from the camel.

Explain questions:

1. Why is it that when Isaac lifted up his eyes, he saw camels, not ladies. In contrast, when Rebecca lifted her eyes, she saw Isaac. Isaac is compared to a camel earlier in the torah. At the age of two years old he was weaned. That is, he was able to survive independently, as a camel is able to survive long periods without drinking.
chapter 12 verse 8. And the child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.

2. Did the nine other ladies also get married and have kids? Who did they marry? Did these families continue with Esau, and become part of the Edomites?
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Re: How many ladies were on camels in parsha chayei sarah?

Postby Kira » Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:31 pm

Interesting point about the ladies.

I would imagine that one of them was her nursemaid, Devorah, mentioned in Gen 35:8

Practically speaking, if a caravan approaches, you will see a caravan approach. If you're on the camel and see a person on foot, you will see a person on foot.

But that's not the question, the question is what is the Torah telling us.

A lot has been said on the topic. I feel that Rivka immediately saw something holy in Yitzchak, and that is why she covered her face.

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Re: How many ladies were on camels in parsha chayei sarah?

Postby mariaw » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:28 pm

Sander's excellent question: "Why is it that when Isaac lifted up his eyes, he saw camels, not ladies. In contrast, when Rebecca lifted her eyes, she saw Isaac."

This is my question off the top of my head: Is Isaac recognizing his own camels and is Rebecca seeing Isaac as her Light? Both of these components are found in Isaiah chapter 60.

I'm assuming the entire scene is the national birth process of Israel & HASHEM is the spiritual Father...not necessarily Jacob. Rashi
even mentions two miracles concerning this once in a life time NATIONAL BIRTH PROCESS. Who is the true spiritual Father of Israel
and when did the birth process take place......I'm thinking the exodus from Egypt???
My first clue is Gen. 25.23 and HASHEM'S words to Rebecca that "Two nations are in your womb;"

Actually, the entire scene can be recognized again from Isaiah chapter 60. "Arise! Shine for your light has arrived, and the glory of
HASHEM shines upon you."

Isaiah 60 contains all the camels and much much more as well as the Light. Is this what Isaac really sees? A very real vision of the future superimposed upon his own day & time reality.

Thanks Sander.....this is a very good question.
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