Posted by: mosesfromsinai | October 25, 2010

Chayai Sarah – The Life of Sarah

This week’s Torah reading is Chayai Sarah – The Life of Sarah.  Strangely it begins with the announcement of her death and burial.  Sarah was a unique mother and the first mother of the Jewish nation.  There was no Jewish funeral home at that time so Avraham had to take care of the burial on his own.  He acquired the field in Hevron,  including the Cave of Machpelah.  (Historians please note that this is a recorded document in the still #1 best seller, the Bible, showing the ownership of the Patriarchs’ and Matriarchs’ burial site actually purchased at full price along with the surrounding land. – Note also the famous commentator, Rashi, brings down that King David similarly purchased from Aravna, Jerusalem, for full price.  King David could have used Les Majesty and gotten it for free.  He chose to purchase Jerusalem at full price just as did Abraham when Abraham was offered the land by Efron for free.)  (Also note that the price in both cases was paid in full cash and the best coinage at that time and actually overpaid – unlike Manhattan that was underpaid).

Sarah was the first mother of the Jewish nation  She constantly showed her devotion and sacrifice for the family.  Tradition tell us that when Sarah lit the Shabbat candles they remained lit the entire week and the tent was blessed for the entire week.  She put her physical and personal life on the line to advance Monotheism/Judaism.  She was a tremendous influence in her era.  Hagar chose to be her servant rather than a princess of Egypt when she met Sarah.  We should also at this time correct the film “Fiddler on the Roof”.  There in the song it indicates that who has the last word in the house according to tradition ” The Papa”.  Wrong.  When Abraham and Sarah argued, on each occasion Sarah had the final say.  Actually on the last argument, whether to kick Yishmael out of the house, Abraham did not want to, Sarah insisting Yishmael must go, the Al-mighty told Avraham to listen to his wife Sarah.  Thus “The Papa”  has the first word, but if “The Mama” argues for spiritual reasons, “The Mama has the final say. (Note the song still is a nice song.)

Thus the Parsha has the name “Chayayi” – the “Life” of Sarah, even though we begin reading by her obituary – because her values and influence lived on after her,  affecting future generations and the entire Jewish nation.  She is someone we bless our daughters to emulate and our sons to admire.

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