Parashat Chayei Sarah
There are those who say that this week’s Torah portion is one of the most spiritual readings among the 54 Parashiot. The phrase Chayei Sarah means the life of Sarah. What is unique is that the first thing that one learns about Sarah is that she died at the age of 127 years. Even though Sarah is dead, one can see how her life continues to influence people. What was it about Sarah that caused her to be an integral part of people’s lives even after she died? Perhaps the answer is found in her age, 127 years.
One learns in Genesis 6:3 that the maximum age for a human being is 120 years. Therefore if one lives past this age there is great significance. The number 120 is related to the number 18 which means life. The number 7 is related to holiness; therefore the age of 127 speaks to the holiness of Sarah’s life. When one lives a life sanctified to G-d this person will influence people to draw closer to the L-rd. Sarah was a role model for other people.
It was only after the death of Sarah that Abraham decided that Isaac should get married. If one reads Genesis 24 he will clearly see how G-d was at work to bring Rebecca to Isaac. It was no accident that Isaac brought Rebecca into the tent of his mother Sarah,
“And Isaac brought her (Rebecca) to the tent of Sarah, his mother and he took Rebecca and she became his wife and he loved her and Isaac was comforted concerning his mother.” Genesis 24:67
Sarah was an integral part in G-d’s plan. Abraham was not able to fulfill HaShem’s call on his life without Sarah doing her part. Now that Abraham was old, “Abraham was old…” Gen. 24:1, he knew that the promise was now going to continue through Isaac and therefore he needed a help mate just as Abraham had Sarah. The fact that Isaac brought Rebecca into the tent of Sarah shows the reader how Rebecca now takes the role of Sarah. Isaac knew that he needed a women like his mother. Scholars point out that when the text reads, “…and Isaac was comforted concerning his mother” it was not so much about his personal lost of a mother, but that he now had a partner to carry on G-d’s covenantal purposes.
What one is to glean from this passage is that it is not wise to see people only in terms of what they mean to you; rather in what they mean to the kingdom. Sarah’s influence on Isaac was not just how much he loved his mother, but how she instilled in him that there is a call / purpose for his life. The fact that Sarah lived a life that was sanctified to G-d’s covenantal purposes was seen in how she influenced her son to continue in that same heritage. What about you? How are you influencing others to walk in the kingdom’s purposes? When you die, what influence will you have upon others?
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