The Eternity of Sarah’s Life by Yonah Rossman


We see the life of Sarah (or at least how she lived it) summed up in one Pasuk, the first one of the Parashah, which states, “VaYihyu Chayei Sarah Meiah Shanah VeEsrim Shanah VeSheva Shanim Shenei Chayei Sarah,” “Sarah’s lifetime was one hundred years, twenty years, and seven years; the years of Sarah’s life” (BeReishit 23:1). The Vilna Gaon points out that the small letter (Chaf) in the word “VeLivkotah,” “And [Avraham came] to cry over her” (23:2) in the next Pasuk teaches us that when Sarah died, Avraham did not cry over her Neshamah, but only over her deceased body.  This was because she had done everything she needed to do in life; Avraham knew that there was no reason to cry over her Neshamah. Rashi points out that the Pasuk quoted above superfluously contains the word "years".  He reasons that when Sarah was one hundred years of age she was like twenty, and when she was twenty she was like seven. As Shlomo Carlebach teaches us (referring to people), “Only the outside gets old; the inside never gets old” (Carlebach, 108). This idea, which is repeated in the Pesukim, helps us understand the life of Sarah.  Sarah lived a life of a Tzaddeket and the Gemara teaches us that Tzaddikim live on forever. Sarah’s Chessed still impacts us today and there are still people who daven and learn at her Kever every day. No matter how hard people try, no one will ever be able to destroy the legacy Sarah and our other patriarchs and matriarchs established. The Torah teaches us that Torah and Mitzvot are not just things that we do when we are not busy, but that they are a way of life, in the end of Parashat Nitzavim with the words, “Ki Hu Chayecha VeOrech Yamecha,” “For it (the Torah) is your life and the length of your days” (Devarim 30:20).  The Torah is stating that we should be involved in Torah and Mitzvot, and that involvement is what will keep the Jewish people alive forever just as it did to Sarah Imeinu. 

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