I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parsha summary followed by a Dvar Torah;
” The Parsha in a Nutshell “
Sarah dies at age 127 and is buried in the Machpeilah Cave in Chevron, which Avraham purchases from Ephron the Hittite for 400 shekels of silver.
Avraham’s servant, Eliezer, is sent with gifts to Charan, Avraham’s hometown, to find a wife for Isaac. At the village well, Eliezer asks G-d for a sign: when the maidens come to the well, he will ask for some water to drink; the woman who will offer to give his camels to drink as well, shall be the one destined for his master’s son.
Rebecca, the daughter of Avraham’s nephew, appears at the well and passes the “test”. Rebecca returns with Eliezer to the land of Canaan, where they encounter Isaac. Isaac marries Rebecca, loves her, and is comforted over the loss of his mother.
Avraham takes a new wife, Keturah (Hagar) and fathers six additional sons, but Isaac is designated as his only heir. Avraham dies at age 175 and is buried beside Sarah by his two eldest sons, Isaac and Ishmael.
” Dvar Torah “
This week’s Parsha, Chayei Sarah, starts off by saying that the years of Sarah’s life was one hundred twenty seven. And Sarah dies in Chevron. Then it talks about Avraham buying a burial spot for Sarah and buries her. And the rest of the Parsha is all about Isaac. Avraham sends his servant Eliezer to find him a wife from his birthplace. He finds Rebecca and brings her back to Isaac and she gets married to him.
The Chachamim ask an interesting question. Why does Parashat Chayei Sarah, which means “The Life of Sarah”, talks about Sarah’s death instead of Sarah’s “life”?! Usually the name of the Parsha reflects the topic discussed in the Parsha. For example, Parashat Bereshit, “in the beginning”, talks about the beginning of Creation. Parashat Noah is about Noah. Parashat Balak is about a King called Balak, and so on…… So why doesn’t Parashat Chayei Sarah talk about the life of Sarah?!
But this is not the only place in the Torah that connects life to death. A few Parashiot later, in Parashat Vayechi, which means “and (Jacob) lived”, the Torah also talks about Jacob’s death. It talks about Jacob blessing his children on his deathbed and then he dies. Again the Torah describes someone’s life by talking about his death. But why?! What’s the connection between life and death?!
Rabbi Raphael Wizman from Orthodox Union organization gives the following interesting explanation. He says that a person’s life can be seen through his or her accomplishments. And Sarah’s greatest accomplishment in life was to bear Isaac. Sarah, raised a son who would continue going in the path of G-d, and would willfully sacrifice his life for the sake of G-d. Sarah did not just raise a child, she raised a future Patriarch for the Jewish nation. Isaac’s continued loyalty to the tradition of his mother’s belief would be her greatest praise. The story of Isaac’s life is, in essence, the story of Sarah’s life. Because Sarah’s legacy lives through Isaac. The same can be said about Jacob. Jacob’s greatest accomplishment in life was his children. He raised 12 children who followed in his footsteps and formed the 12 tribes of Israel. And that’s why the Torah connects Sarah and Jacob’s lives to their death. Because their legacy lives on through their children. We should remember that Sadikim never die! The Talmud says “The righteous are considered alive even after death” because the righteous leave a living trace in those who come after them.
Yes my friends, our greatest accomplishments in life are not the trophies that we’ve won, nor the college degrees we’ve obtained or all the fortune that we have accumulated over the years, but rather, our greatest accomplishment in life is our children. We all live a relatively short period of time in this world and then, sooner or later, we all have to die and kiss the world goodbye. Our legacy, however, lives on through our children. How we raise them and present them to the society is the reflection of our own beliefs and behaviors. Avraham’s name never died, since he taught his children to follow in his footstep by believing in G-d and doing act of kindness to others. And if we continue on his journey, then Avraham’s name will live for ever!
There is a great lesson to be learned here. The Torah is teaching us the secret to immortality! All we need to do is to follow G-d’s commandments and then teach them to our children. If they can follow in our footsteps and teach their children to follow in their’s, then you’ll never know………. our legacy may live forever!!
Shabbat Shalom & Regards;