Stay Strong by Daniel Weintraub


Parashat Chayei Sarah starts out with a sad story. Sarah, the great wife of Avraham Avinu had died. Not only had she died, but Chazal teach she had died with the worst timing. At the end of Parashat VaYera, Avraham was about to commit a deed that no father wants to commit; he was going to sacrifice Yitzchak. Hashem had mercy, and once He saw that Avraham was actually going to pass this test, he spared Yitchack’s life. Rashi says that Sarah’s death was directly related to the Akeidah. He quotes a Midrash that says that Satan showed Sarah a vision of the Akeidah, and when she saw that Avraham had almost slaughtered Yitzchak, she died. This raises a question: how could such an important event, which we constantly refer to on Rosh HaShanah, have caused the seemingly early death of Sarah? The Netivot Shalom offers an amazing answer. He states that Satan had tried to prevent Avraham from performing the Akeidah, and when he didn’t succeed, he decided to try a different angle. The Gemara (Kiddushin 40b) teaches that the only way to lose merit for a Mitzvah is to regret doing it. Satan tried this approach on Avraham by causing Sarah’s seemingly premature death. However, Avraham stayed strong and did not regret his actions.

In reality, however, this wasn’t a premature death. The Parsha starts out, “VaYihyu Chayei Sarah Meiah Shanah VeEsrim Shanah VeSheva Shanim,” “And this was the life of Sarah, 100 years, 20 years, and 7 years.” Instead of simply saying that Sarah died, the Torah makes sure to let us know that 127 years was the complete lifetime of Sarah; she was supposed to live for 127 years no matter what happened. The Torah wanted to make sure that there was no doubt in our minds that this was the predetermined life of Sarah.

Avraham’s reaction to Sarah’s death shows us that no matter what, we can’t let Satan get in our way.  We must remain steadfast in our belief that every Mitzvah will be rewarded for and never regret doing them.

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