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Monday, Mar-Cheshvan 22, 5784 / November 6, 2023


This week's Parsha, Chayei Sarah, begins with the passing of Abraham’s wife, our matriarch, Sarah


The Parsha begins, "And the life of Sarah was one hundred years and twenty years and seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died in Kiryat Arba which is Hebron in the land of Canaan and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her."


The Torah describes in detail how Abraham purchased the "Ma'arat HaMachpeila," the Cave of Machpeila, in the city of Hebron, as a family burial plot.  He buried Sarah in the Ma’arat HaMachpeila.


Q.  Why did Abraham choose that particular cave as the family burial plot?


A. Abraham wanted this special burial place for his wife, Sarah, because Adam and Eve (Chava) were buried in the cave of Machpeila. Later, Abraham’s son, Yitzchak, and his wife, Rivkah; Abraham’s grandson, Yaakov, and his wife, Leah, were buried there too. To this day, that site is visited by Jews.


Q.  The first word of the Parsha is “Vayihu.”  The numerical value of the Hebrew word “Vayihu,” is 37.  What is the connection between the number 37 and the life of Sarah?


A.   The Parsha begins that the life of Sarah was 127 years.  However, of all these years, the last 37 years of her life, stood out from the rest, for they were very special years for Sarah.  These were the 37 years in which she had her son, Yitzchak.  Sarah was 90 when she gave birth to Yitzchak.  She was 127 when she passed away.  Thus, these 37 years were very special in Sarah’s life.


Q.   The Parsha begins, "And the life of Sarah was one hundred years and twenty years and seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah.”  The words, “these were the years of the life of Sarah,” seem to be repetitious?


A.   Our sages explain that the extra words, "these were the years of the life of Sarah," teach us that all 127 years of Sarah’s life were the same - they were all good."   Many of these years she and Abraham went through many difficulties and tests, and she was childless until age 90.  Yet, just as her last 37 years, when she had her son, Yitzchak, were good years for her, so too, she considered all her 127 years as good ones.


Q.   In the past two Parshiot, we read about the many trials and difficulties which Sarah endured.  The tests which Abraham endured were also trials and tribulations for Sarah.  How then can the Torah say that, "all of Sarah's years were equally good?"


A.  Our sages in the Talmud give the following instruction, "A person must bless G-d for the bad just as they would bless Him for the Good."  For, although we do not see the good in a particular act or event, it is because we cannot possibly see it the way G-d does. However, we believe that G-d is good and kind, and as such we should accept it just as the things we see as good.  Sarah accepted whatever G-d gave her, the gifts and even her challenges, as good.