In the week’s Parsha, Chaye Sarah, there lies a hidden story behind the story, with three clues in our Parsha. The first clue is when Rivka first sees Yitzchak, we are told that he is coming from Be’er Lachai Ro-i (24:62), a fact not relevant to the story, and seemingly insignificant. The second clue is that after Sarah’s death and Avraham’s mourning of her passing, while we would expect Avraham to walk into the sunset of his life, we are told that Avraham then married a woman named Keturah and has six children, with no further mention of her or their children. The third clue is that when Avraham did pass away, he was buried next to Sarah by Yitzchak and Yishmael (25:8-10). Where did Yishmael come from, and where has he been until now?
The Midrash pieces together the underlying story, and its meaning. The sages point out that Be’er Lachai Ro-i is the spot where Hagar prayed for her son Yishmael to be saved, and where Yitzchak went to search for Hagar after his mother died, hoping to find his father a wife. They also explain that Avraham did end up marrying Hagar, now named Keturah because “her acts produced frangrance”. Yishmael was present at Avraham’s burial, suggesting that this resulted in Avraham and Yishmael getting along. These facts provide context to their complex relationships, and more importantly, their ability to resolve their differences. May the story of our past provide hope for our future.