Chayey Sarah

(c) 1998 Rabbi David Markel Hall
Chayay Sarah "Sarah’s life". This is an epitaph on behalf of Sarah as she is the only woman in the Bible that received such notoriety. This statement indicates that Sarah is of paramount importance as the Bible normally only speaks this way of the patriarchs.

Additionally, Sarah’s life wasn’t without its ups and downs. Avraham on at least two occasions told kings that Sarah was his sister, a half truth. In spite of being barren, apparently degraded by her husband denials, living all over the known world from Ur to Pharo’s Egypt, and even seeing her own handmaid produce offspring from Avraham, Sarah remained faithful to him, even calling him lord (1 Peter 3:5,6). What an example for us all.

The toughest point in all of this, I believe, is when Avraham took Itzkhak up to the mountain to sacrifice him to HaShem. What must have gone through Sarah’s mind? What was going through Avraham’s mind? Itzkhak revealed his mind when he asked of his father, “... I see the wood and fire but where is the sacrifice?”

Avraham desired to bury Sarah in a place which was his own property. Because the land of Canaan was not yet in his possession, and because he knew that he or his offspring would one day return to this land, he chose to make a contract of deed for the burial place. Ephron, the Hittite, wanted to give Avraham the cave in which Sarah was buried but Avraham wouldn’t have it. He insisted that the land would be bought at a fair price. Ephron said, “But the land is only worth a few silver coins. What is that between friends?” Avraham then placed the silver in the hands of Ephron and the land passed into his possession. This was the first piece of land that Avraham actually owned in Canaan. Notice it wasn’t much, but it was his.

We often want to start big but HaShem’s trademark is small beginnings. The nation of Israel consisted only of Avraham and Itzchak, a very small beginning. Avraham bought the burial site in faith trusting HaShem that one day his children would come to see the rest of the promise.

We can look upon Sarah as an example of how to stand in faith. When everything looks wrong or we do not understand what HaShem is doing in our life, remain faithful to the end.

Avraham desired that Itzkhak not marry any of the women from Canaan. He made his servant promise to find a wife from the homeland. HaShem blessed the servant of Avraham and found an excellent woman from Avraham’s home country.

Revka saw the wonderful things that belonged to Avraham and Itzchak, and chose to return to Canaan and became the second  of four matriarchs of Israel. When her family begged her to stay a little longer, she insisted on leaving immediately to meet, her as yet unseen groom, Itzchak. In this way, Revka is a type of the body of messiah today. We have heard of this messiah but have not as yet seen Him. Still we cannot wait to see Him and rejoice with Him in His wedding. Upon seeing his great and varied gifts they knew that this one would provide well for her.

Observations of Revka in this weeks Torah parsha reveal the following:

These are all desirable traits. How many of them do we exhibit in our walk with HaShem?

Avraham married again after Sarah died and had six more children. This brings his children to a total of eight. In Judaism, eight is the number of covenant, as our children are brit milah (circumcised) on the eighth day. I see the eight children as being the completion of covenant with HaShem. I also see that there are more in Avraham’s covenant with HaShem besides those under the blessing of Itzchak.

Haftorah: 1 Kings 1:1-31

The names used in this story are important for they reveal much about the nature of what was going on spiritually. Those of us who are heirs to the throne must be careful not to exalt ourselves and thereby enter into error as Adoniyah did. Additionally, those who are reigning now must be careful not to go contrary to the will of HaShem in their last days and err as David did with Abshag.

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