This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Chayei Sarah is taken from Genesis 23:1-25:18. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he focuses on the life of Sarah, our matriarch: What her life teach us about, the many challenges she faced, her many strengths, and how in our own lives ELOHIM gives us lackings and needs, so that we turn to the only Source of all blessings!
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Parashah Torah Portion:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Parashah Torah Portion Chayei Sarah - Genesis 23:1-25:18
In this Parashah we see the importance and power of the life of Sarah. The world stands on 3 things: Torah, Temple service, and loving acts of kindness. The stories of Abraham and his descendants seem to be written from a patriarchal perspective, yet the first death recorded among them is that of a woman, Sarah.
What is life? We see in this week’s narrative that Sarah has passed away. It then describes how she was buried in a special cave in Hebron. Even though it begins with the death of Sarah the Torah portion starts out “Chayei Sarah”, “the Life of Sarah.”
What indeed was the life of Sarah? What does her life teach us about our lives today? Certainly, she had to face many challenges; she married Abraham at a young age, she was barren, she was a young evangelist devoted to her spiritual task of teaching people about Elohim, together with her husband, and she also inspired women to follow Elohim.
The first time that Sarah enters onto the stage of history is Gen. 12:1-5 and the first impression that the Torah gives us of Sarah is her name (or names) that will hint to her essence. Gen. 11:29-30 calls her Sarai and Yiskah; these refer to her Divine spirit and that everyone gazes at her beauty. Sarah’s name means princess from the same root word meaning authority. The three meanings of her name signify: spiritual stature (divine spirit), physical beauty, and quality of leadership (royalty and authority).
In Gen. 17:15 her name is changed to Sarah…signifying a change in position. The name Sarai implies her position as an officer for Abraham but the change brings her into a position of ruling. She takes on a greater mission as one who births a nation, she becomes a princess with impact on everyone.
Sarah seems to stand alone as an individual not connected to her family. A woman of unique clarity of vision and insight, with beauty and dignity, even as a daughter of Haran. In fact, this spiritual level, which preceded her partnership with Abraham was even higher than his in some cases. Sarah stands alone, separate from parents and siblings, no offspring to tie her down to hearth and home. She is the perfect candidate for the nomadic life, leaving everything, becoming independent and going out on her own to start anew.
Sarah has this inner strength, trust, and faith. She knows she is part of a unique mission with her husband, that is, to spread Elohim through the world, to eventually start a new nation which will be a light unto others but yet she was barren! In fact, Gen. 11:30 uses a double phrase to describe. her: “Sarah is barren, she had no child.” Why the double phrasing? It is to teach that she did not even have a place for offspring. Sarah had no womb from the standpoint of nature, she cannot possibly give birth.
What did Elohim have in mind calling her the matriarch, mother of a nation? In our own lives Elohim gives us lackings and needs in order that we turn to the Source of all blessings and develop relationship with Him by our requesting. If all is met, we see with clarity and gratitude how Elohim runs the world and provides for His creatures. If, however, fulfillment of those needs is delayed and a situation of lack continues for years, our challenge is to accept with fortitude that our situation is for our best, that Elohim loves us and we need to continue trusting and praying that someday our requests will be heeded.
Sarah developed a very strong sense of inner belief and trust in Elohim, in order to accept a situation whereby she was going to embark on a wandering, sterile lifestyle with Abraham- while believing that somehow, out there in the future, there would be children, a nation and prosperity and blessing.
Abraham received the promises directly but Sarah had never actually received them…she had to believe Abraham and trust that it would be so. Sarah knew that it was essential for Abraham to have a successor. After 10 years in the land of Canaan, waiting for her hopes to be fulfilled, Sarah sees another option. This idea is not ideal, not pleasant, not an option for the typical woman but for Sarah who was possessed with inner strength, accepting of Elohim’s plan, a clear determination to do what’s right no matter how uncomfortable, to her this plan seems like a possibility…let Hagar give Abraham a child!
Let’s stop for a minute…we know it is wrong and bad thinking but set that to the side for a moment. How much courage, humility, acceptance and inner strength are necessary for such a suggestion. I want you to imagine years of struggle and challenge, a partnership with Abraham, working side by side, educating the masses, evangelizing and then relinquishing her position as biological matriarch and giving it away to her handmaid. What is she actually saying by this action? She is saying, “Ego doesn’t matter”, “She doesn’t matter”, “It’s about the nation”, in expression of a plea to Elohim, she gave her handmaid Hagar to Abraham and Ishmael was born.
Later, Elohim gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. His physical body attained a new level of holiness and with that came a promise of a miracle…Sarah would have a son…Isaac was born! However, Ishmael would pose a great threat to Isaac’s life so Sarah did all in her power to protect him , the promise, the covenant!
Sarah was not being vindictive when asking Abraham to send the two away. Elohim validates her determination to remove Ishmael’s influence from her home. Elohim told Abraham to follow Sarah’s advice, she had greater prophetic power than her husband. Abraham’s expression of kindness could not see the dangerous, immoral behavior of Ishmael and how it would destroy the seed. On the account of Sarah’s efforts, the Jewish nation eventually came into being.
In Gen. 23:1 it describes Sarah’s lifetime like this, “Sarah was one hundred years, twenty years, and seven years; the years of Sarah’s life.” Why divided into 3 segments? In order to teach us that for the righteous each day and each segment of life counts as much as the entire life taken as a whole. Because the word “year” is repeated it is significant! At 100 Sarah was as she was at 20, without sin; at 20 she was as beautiful as she had been at 7.
Sarah dies but her life lives on through the wife of Isaac. Abraham is told about Rivkah (Rebecca). The Ruach brings Rivkah to Isaac, and the life of Sarah continues on through the servant Rivkah.
Sarah lived a life on a higher level. Sarah’s calling created a fabric of community, a nation, a legacy, a light to the nations. Her calling was to live a higher life where the body and soul reflect the Father and produce a seed and protect it with everything she had…that was her calling and that is our calling today!
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,
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