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  • Tyler Ganjian

Dvar Torah: Chayei Sarah

This week's Parsha is Chayei Sarah, חַיֵּי שָׂרָה. At the beginning of the parsha, Sarah passes away at the age of one hundred twenty-seven years old. The Torah tells us this in a seemingly strange style, “מֵאָ֥ה שָׁנָ֛ה וְעֶשְׂרִ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה וְשֶׁ֣בַע שָׁנִ֑ים שְׁנֵ֖י חַיֵּ֥י שָׂרָֽה." This translates to, “One hundred years and twenty years and seven years, Sarah lived.” Why does the Torah write years between one hundred, twenty and seven?

Rashi explains that in terms of her sins, at the age of one hundred, Sarah was her twenty-year-old pure self. At the age of twenty, she was as beautiful as her seven-year-old self.

As the Parsha continues, Avraham purchases a cave called Ma'arat HaMachpela - מערת המכפלה - to bury his wife, Sarah, in. We learn that throughout Sarah’s life, she was like a teacher to her son, Issac. She taught him how to respect his future wife, raise a family and carry on his childhood traditions. A question arises regarding Sarah, who is mentioned in the title of the Parsha. Why is this Parsha called "the Life of Sarah" (Chayei Sarah) if it starts off by telling us that Sarah died? One answer is that Issac carries on Sarah’s lessons after her death and continues her life; hence the title, "Life of Sarah."

In another part of the Parsha, Avraham sends his servant, Eliezer, to find a wife for Issac. Eliezer, a total stranger, is approached by Rivka, who out of kindness offers him and his camels water. Eliezer chooses Rivka to marry Issac because he sees that she is so welcoming and that she is a tzadikah (צדיקה). From now on, we should all aim to be like Rivka by welcoming our guests, and even total strangers, with respect.

Shabbat Shalom!

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