A Proper Mindset by Aaron Fishkind


In Parashat Chayei Sarah, we read about the death of Sarah (BeReishit 23:1), the negotiations between Avraham and Efron HaChitti (23:13-17), and the marriage of Yitzchak to Rivkah (25:20). Because this Parashah is filled with so many interesting narratives, many people tend to miss the Pesukim in between the narrative of Avraham negotiating with Efron and Avraham finding a wife for Yitzchak. In between these two narratives, we are told, “VeAvraham Zakein Ba BaYamim, VaHashem Beirach Et Avraham BaKol” “And Avraham was old, well stricken with age, and Hashem had blessed Avraham in all things” (24:1). This Pasuk seems like a mere bridge between the two narratives. However, Rashi (24:1 s.v BaKol) makes the observation that the word “BaKol” has a Gematria of fifty-two, which coincides with the Gematria of the word “Ben,” a son. The Ramban (ad loc. s.v. Beirach Et Avraham BaKol) explains that Avraham had a multitude of material property such as gold, silver, and cattle, but he did not have a wife for his son. Without a wife, Yitzchak would not be able to pass on the torch of Torah and Middot to the next generation.

Both Rashi and the Ramban are picking up on the necessity of an inheritor. One may enjoy all of the physical pleasures in the world such as money and power and also have the spiritual values of the Torah, yet without a progenitor to pass on his inheritance and knowledge, all of the material and spiritual success is for naught. The Torah is teaching that in order for somebody’s life to be complete, he needs an inheritor to pass on his values and ideals to the next generation.

The Torah communicates this message immediately before Avraham tells Eliezer about the qualities that he should look for in a wife for Yitzchak (24:2). The Torah is teaching that one must always look for a proper spouse in order to create a house where his values can be exemplified. The proper values cannot be instilled in a child by an improper set of parents who will give the child a negative set of values and ideals. It is extremely important in today’s society that we marry people that have a proper mindset and values that are essential for the development and passing on of positive Torah qualities. Therefore, we should learn from this week’s Parashah that a proper house with positive ideals and encouraging parents are essential for the development of the next generation who will be able to pass the torch of Torah and Mitzvot to them.

The Power of Speech by Rabbi Josh Kahn

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