Chayei Sarah | חיי שרה | “Sarah’s life “
And Yitzchak said to Avraham his father, and he said, “My father,” and he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Here is the fire, and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” And Avraham said, “God will provide Himself a lamb for the burnt offering.” And they went, both of them, together. (Bereishit 22:7-8)
Life is so very short and yet the days can seem to last for an eternity with no hope in sight. So many ups and downs in this life, who can make sense of them all?
Yitzchak’s life was so short it seems. Yet, he outlived all the Patriarchs. Yitzach was 180 old when he went to sleep with our forefathers. There are only five chapters devoted to Yitzchak’s life compared to Abraham and Ya’accov’s lives. Avraham 13 chapters and Ya’accov 20 chapters.
How can a life seem, so short, and yet, be so long? The pains of life can be as a fire and the counsel of men can be as crackling wood in the fire. The flames of this life can seem to be overwhelming at times. So, how can one walk through this fire and not be burned?
How can I see the fire and the wood and yet trust that everything is going to be good?
Know that my Torah is like a fire that brings you warmth in the cold and as a flaming fire that goes before you in the times of trouble and anguish to make you bold before the enemy. Trust that my (Hashem’s) counsel is superior to your wisdom and the counsel of fools. For the Torah is a flame and the tree of life to those who hold on to it and all its path are peace. And like Rivkah, the ewe/ lamb was found watering the camels until they had all drank from (Mayim Hayim) living waters, so may your soul be quenched in this day as we are lead by Hashem.
Nechama Leibowitz offers an interesting interpretation of a verse from the consolation of Yishayahu: “While those who wait upon God will renew their strength; they will rise up with wings like eagles, they will run and not be weary; they will walk and not faint” (Yishayahu 40:31):
This verse raises a question: as we know, the general rule in Tanakh is that the two parallel parts of a verse proceed from the lighter form or scenario to the more intensive one. Thus, this verse should read, “They will walk and not faint, [and even if] they will run – they will not be weary.” Why, then, is the order here reversed?
In moments when we are raised up on waves of enthusiasm, we are all capable of one-time acts of heroism. We are able to elevate ourselves to great heights; we can gallop forwards. It is far more difficult to fulfill one’s daily obligations, to follow the beaten track even after the initial excitement has worn off, when the glorious glow of the vision has grown dim, when we encounter challenges and obstacles. It is difficult to remain consistently steadfast in the face of all of this without tiring. Therefore, the order of the verse is correct: “They will run [with galloping enthusiasm] and not be weary,” but even when they have to walk, to continue, without racing, “they will not be faint.” (Nechama Leibowitz, Daf le-Tarbut Yehudit11, Tevet 5734)
Continue to walk chaverim carrying the fire and the wood of Hashem and let us go together as one and may Hashem find the Rivkah/lamb in you that will not faint at watering the world.
Parashat Hayei Sarah
Genesis 23 – 25
א וַיִּהְיוּ֙ חַיֵּ֣י שָׂרָ֔ה מֵאָ֥ה שָׁנָ֛ה וְעֶשְׂרִ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה וְשֶׁ֣בַע שָׁנִ֑ים שְׁנֵ֖י חַיֵּ֥י שָׂרָֽה׃
ב וַתָּ֣מָת שָׂרָ֗ה בְּקִרְיַ֥ת אַרְבַּ֛ע הִ֥וא חֶבְר֖וֹן בְּאֶ֣רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן וַיָּבֹא֙ אַבְרָהָ֔ם לִסְפֹּ֥ד לְשָׂרָ֖ה וְלִבְכֹּתָֽהּ׃
ג וַיָּ֙קָם֙ אַבְרָהָ֔ם מֵעַ֖ל פְּנֵ֣י מֵת֑וֹ וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר אֶל־בְּנֵי־חֵ֖ת לֵאמֹֽר׃