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Parashat Hayye’ Sarah

Parashat Hayye' Sarah starts off with the pasuk: vayihiyu hayye ' sarah me-ah shanah ve’esrim shanah ve’sheva shanim; sh'ne' hayye' sarah. "And the life of Sarah was one hundred years and twenty years and seven years; [these were] the years of the life of Sarah.” Our Rabbis teach us that there was a connection between Sarah's death and Akedat Yitzhak. Her death, they explain, was actually the result of the Akedah. Rashi quotes Hazal, that the Satan shocked Sarah in the way that he described the Akedah. Normally if something happens and you have to break the news to a family member, you would start off by saying : “Your son is ok, but he was involved in a car accident and B"H he's doing fine". A person has to learn how to talk when breaking difficult news to someone. The Satan didn't make this his practice and would say "Avraham sacrificed your son Yitzhak...but he didn't kill him". From these shocking words Sarah's Neshamah left her but she knew and was satisfied that Avraham had passed this test and survived making the ultimate Kiddush Hashem! Sarah's Neshamah then left her, as a result of the Satan’s choice of words. Why did the Satan have to shock Sarah? Hazal answer is that he wanted to cause Avraham to regret his obedience, so that he would lose the mitzvah. As it says in the Hashkivenu, V'haseir hasatan mil'fanenu ume-aharenu : Remove the Satan from before and after us. Please, Hashem, don't let the Satan discourage or cause us to regret doing the mitzvot before or after we perform them. Imagine seeing a poor person that you wish to help, but the Satan grabs you to discourage you from helping that person. Then after you conquer the Yetzer Hara and help the man, the Satan comes to you and says, "Why did you give him so much money?” He tries to make you regret the mitzvah that you just performed, so that you will lose credit for the mitzvah. This is exactly what the Satan was trying to accomplish with Avraham when he shocked Sarah with the information that her son Yitzhak had been sacrificed. But we learn that she passed her test, because Hazal taught us that her last breath came with the proud knowledge that she had succeeded in raising a son who was willing to give up his life in the service of Hashem. The Torah goes on to say: vayavo avraham lispod le’sarah ve’livkotah. “And Avraham came to eulogize Sarah and to cry for her." But here the Torah uses a small Kaf in the word velivkotah, which means to cry for her. The reason for this is that Avraham first eulogized Sarah's good traits and then later he cried for his loss in private. Hacham Ovadia once said at the funeral of a very charitable man’s wife from our community that "Avraham didn't cry as much because he was able to visualize Sarah in Olam Habah and the glory that she was basking in". Later on, in perek 24, pasuk 1, we read: ve’avraham zaken ba ba’yamim, vahashem berach et avraham bakol. “And Avraham was old, advanced in days, and Hashem had blessed Abraham with everything." Rashi comments on this verse that the numerical value of bakol, “with everything”, is 52, the same numerical value as the word ben(son). Rashi is implying here is that once Avraham had his son Yitzhak and they both passed that final test of the Akedah, he was content, for he truly did have everything! This is because as we go through our lives and get on in years, we realize that what is most important in our lives is our children and the legacy they will carry for us. Thus when Rashi says that Avraham's son Yitzhak is everything, he's saying that all that really matters to us as parents and grandparents is our children, and the future of our families, who will carry on our lineage. So what this pasuk is saying, is that Hashem’s blessings for us, is to have children and grandchildren who will grow up to follow in the ways of the Torah and make us proud of them. To have "everything" to many people can mean wealth, health and honor, but most important is seeing the children we produced become a part of our Jewish lineage and to see our heritage continue into the future. The pasuk starts off by telling us that "Avraham was old, advanced in days." This seems somewhat redundant. Rabbi Twersky relates this to his experience as a doctor. Many people in their older years tend to look back and express regret. If only they could turn back the clock and relive the days of their youth again to avoid some of the mistakes they had made. They would never think back and say, "If only I had spent more time at the office." Rather they would say, "I should have spent more time with my family, building my relationships with my children instead". They realize then, later on in life, how insignificant those extra hours at the office were, compared to the great value of spending precious time with the family. The implication is that there was not a single day that Avraham wasted or regretted . "And Hashem blessed Avraham with everything". There is no greater Beracha than looking back on our lives and having the satisfaction that we lived our lives to the fullest and wouldn't want to go back and relive a single day that needed correction. At the end of the perashah in perek 25, pasuk 8, it says: "Avraham died in a good old age, old and satisfied,” zaken ve’savea. When the Gadol Rabbi Avigdor Miller passed away in 2001, his children found in his will a letter saying to them the following: My children and grandchildren, “Do not cry much over me because Hashem has done kindness with me all my days. He saved me… I was never sick and He gave me pleasant old age. My wife, may she live, always did kindness with me and I was satiated with happiness… for my sons and daughters and sons-in-law and grandchildren and great-grandchildren that I merited to know. All are Shlomei Emunei Yisrael. I also had great joy and pleasure from the members of my Kehilla. I recognize and thank them for all my days of success. Hodu leHashem al tovo hagadol - give thanks to Hashem for His great kindness!” May we all live each day to the fullest by spending quality time with our children and grandchildren and be involved in learning Torah with them every day, so that we may enter our later years in life, old and content with the satisfaction that our days were full and productive with our children and grandchildren around us learning and growing in Torah and Maasim Tovim! Amen! Shabbat Shalom! Jack E. Rahmey with the Guidance and Teachings of Rabbi Amram Sananes Leiluiy Nishmat.... Eliyahu Ben Rachel Sarah Bat Chanah Shulamit Bat Helaina Batsheva Bat Sarah Esther Rav Haim Ben Rivka Yitzchak Ben Adele Chanah Bat Esther Moshe Ben Garaz Avraham Ben Garaz Malka Bat Garaz Yaakov Ben Rachel Rabbi Shimon Chay Ben Yaasher Meir Ben Latifa Esther Bat Sarah Rabbi Meyer Ben Chana Rafael ben Miriam