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Chayey Sarah

24:2 He said to the senior servant of his household, who was in charge of all that he owned, 'Place your hand under my thigh.
Vayomer Avraham el-avdo zekan beyto hamoshel bechol-asher-lo sim-na yadeycha tachat yerechi.


senior servant
  According to Talmudic tradition, this anonymous servant was Eliezer (Genesis 15:2; Targum Yonathan; Yoma28b; Rashi).

under my thigh
  This was a form often used for an oath; see Genesis 47:29. According to Biblical idiom, children issue from the 'thigh' of the father (Genesis 46:26, Exodus 1:5, Judges 8:30), and hence, it is a euphemism for the procreative organ. According to Talmudic tradition, the servant was to place his hand near (Saadia; cf. Abarbanel) the holy sign of the covenant, just as in later times an oath would be made on a Torah scroll (Shevuoth 38b; Targum Yonathan; Rashi). According to some, it was a sign of obedience (Ibn Ezra).

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