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Life, Afterlife

It’s the classic question: why does a parshah that deals very little with Sarah, and when it does, only with details of her death and funeral, bear the name “The Life of Sarah?”

The Midrash gives a number of explanations as to why the actual years are listed and emphasized over and over as they are, “Sarah’s lifetime was one hundred years, and twenty years, and seven years; the years of Sarah’s life.” They all explain how her years were perfect and how they show that she lived her life beautifully. But did you know that Sarah actually passed away before reaching her fully-allotted amount of time? She only lived 127 years to Avraham’s 175 (which was more the norm for their day and age.)

That’s why Chayei Sarah is the name for the parshah that details the years following Sarah’s death. The righteous never leave this world. Their teachings and their influence stay on long after they’re hidden from physical sight. And their descendants and students (as do the children and students of all people) complete any unfulfilled years they’ve left behind.

We see this with Rivkah, carrying on the mantle of Sarah with her candles and challah, lasting from week to week, just like her mother-in-law’s. And we see this with all of us, daughters of Sarah, when we live with her legacy and live up to our inheritance.

(Sources: Midrash Rabbah; Rashi; Likutei Sichos, as adapted by Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, z”l.)

Pens used: Speedball C3 nib in Higgins violet ink, Staedtler calligraphy pen with x-fine nib, Pentel brush pens

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