Chayei Sarah: Chapter 27

"But to the sons of the concubines...Abraham gave gifts"


This very brief passage discusses questions relating to the concubines of Abraham. Rabbi Chiya maintains that the term does not allude to Kturah, one of Abraham's wives, but there is no unanimous agreement. In section 26 of the Zohar, we're told that Abraham gave "all that he had" to his son Isaac. Here it is said that Abraham now "gave gifts" to the "sons of the concubines." It is speculated that these sons then went on to become great sorcerers and mystics living "in the east."


This seemingly simple section of Zohar sheds light on the origins of spiritual disciplines found in the Far East. The Zohar tells us that Abraham gave everything he had to his son Isaac. Thereafter, the Patriarch gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them to live "in the east." Clearly, the Zohar is not referring to material items, for if Abraham gave away all his physical possessions to his son Isaac, there would be nothing left to give to the sons of his concubines. A candle flame provides an analogy, One candle can share its flame and light with countless others, without ever diminishing itself. The Zohar is referring to the light of wisdom when speaking of Abraham's possessions and gifts. The term "all that he had" pertains to the complete wisdom of Kabbalah, also known as the Three Column System. These Three Columns are the pillars of all spiritual wisdom. The "gifts" given to the sons of the concubines refer to other spiritual teachings that offered their own unique pathway to the Light of the Creator, described accordingly as One and Two Column spiritual systems. The sons of the concubines, we're told, were sent by Abraham to live "in the east" where, to this day, there exist spiritual doctrines that exemplify the Two Column system - such as the Ying/Yang principle of Taoist cosmology. A connection can be made between the name Abraham - or Abraham - and the Eastern religious concept of Brahman, which refers to the absolute reality or Self, as explained in the Hindu Upanishads. The words of wisdom portrayed in this passage strengthen our bond to the original seed of spiritual wisdom - Kabbalah - and its Three Column System of Desire to Share, Desire to Receive, and free will to choose and balance between the two. Our study of this section instills in us the discernment to use our free will in a spiritually correct manner.