PARASHAT CHAYA SARAH

BS”D

PARASHAT CHAYA SARAH

Sarah lived 127 years—all of them full and perfect. (Genesis 23:1; Bereishit Rabbah 58:1)
Avraham aged, coming with days… (Genesis 24:1).

This week’s parasha teaches us that our first set of parents were not merely chronologically blessed, but spent every moment of life well. Since a person’s lifespan and nature are patterned after those of his parents (The Aleph-Bet Book, Nature B:1), here are some selections relating to acquiring a long life.
God saw all that He made and—behold!—it was meod (very) good (Genesis 1:31). Meod refers to the Angel of Death (Bereishit Rabbah 9:10).
Fear of God adds days (Proverbs 10:27).
One who does not take the day of death to heart has no fear of God (The Aleph-Bet Book, Fear A:34).
The Angel of Death is none other than Satan. Part of Satan’s job is to entice us to sin. If, God forbid, we succumb, it is his job to exact punishment. No one (healthy) likes to be punished. In our quest to avoid punishment we avoid sin and gain life.
Someone may ask, “Is fear of punishment a legitimate reason to observe the mitzvot? Is it fear of God that I have or fear of suffering?” Rebbe Nachman answers this question by teaching that without fear of retribution it is impossible to begin serving God. Even a saint must have such fear, for few can be so devoted to God because of love (Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom #5).

One who hates money merits long life (The Aleph-Bet Book, Money A:40).
The Talmud devotes almost an entire page to finding out how various Sages acquired long life (Megilah 27b-28a). When asked how he merited long life, Rebbe Nechunya ben HaKaneh answered that he had been a vatran with his money. In praising Job the Talmud tells us that he, too, was a vatran (Bava Batra 15b). Rashi explains that Job didn’t quibble over the small change. Anaf Yosef elaborates: By rounding up the price and paying a few extra pennies for merchandise or services that he had ordered, Job showed that he had a generous spirit. Someone who doesn’t stand on a few pence that are coming to him, certainly gives charity or a present with an open hand.
Avraham Avinu (Abraham our Patriarch) was also a vatran as we know from his legendary hospitality. Rebbe Nachman teaches that because Avraham Avinu was a vatran he successfully overcame the barriers that surrounded the good of the day, each and every day. The “good” is Torah which brings long life (Likutey Moharan I, Lesson #84; Berakhot 5a; Proverbs 3:16).

How does one live a life that is full, with never a wasted moment? How does one gain wisdom and good deeds day in and day out? By starting anew everyday, as the Rebbe did; by asking oneself, as the Rebbe did, “What can I do to be worthy of being a Jew, to taste Judaism?” One has to add and build on to yesterday’s accomplishments (Likutey Halakhot, Tefillin 5:5)
Rebbe Nachman was once asked why his maternal grandmother, Udel the Baal Shem Tov’s daughter, was held in such high esteem by the Baal Shem Tov. The Rebbe answered that his grandmother would constantly ask herself, “What can I do for Hashem now?” (Oral Tradition)
There’s no place for neuroses in Judaism. We are not perpetual-mitzvah machines. We are human beings and, as such, have a responsibility to take proper care of the soul’s container, i.e., the body. As the Rebbe told Reb Dov, one of his chassidim, “Sleep and eat—just watch your time” (Kokhevei Or, Anshei Moharan #21)

V’Hoyoh HaNaarah Asher Omar Ailehah Hati Na Kadech V’eshtoh V’Omrah Shisaih V’gam Gmalecha Ashkeh Osah Hochachto L’Avdecho L’Yitzchok
“And it shall be that the girl that I will say to her “Please tilt your pitcher so that I may drink” and she will (afterwards) say (to me) “And also your camels I shall water.” She (is the one ) you have identified for your servant Yitzchok (Isaac).

Eliezer was sent on a vital mission by his master Avraham (Abraham). He was charged to find a wife for Yitzchok (Isaac). He devised a test to screen potential candidates and he prayed for success. Avraham was the paradign of kindness and hospitality. The girl who was worthy of joining the household of Avraham should sieze every opportunity to do a good deed. Therefore, Eliezer’s test measured kindness. He looked for a girl who would freely volunteer to draw the huge amount of water needed by a caravan of thirsty camels. There is even more to Eliezer’s test than meets the eye, because the test also demanded intelligence and resourcefulness. Eliezer, a perfect stranger, was to request a drink for himself. He assumed that the girl will have no cup for him to drink from and that he will drink directly from the pitcher.
Now, what should she do with the water that remains in the pitcher? She can’t bring it home to her family because the stranger may have a contagious disease. She can’t spill it out because it may offend the stranger. Her best course of action would then be to offer the water to the stranger’s herd of camels. In this manner she would avoiding hurting the stranger’s feelings. Thus, this test would ensure that Yitzchok would get a wife who had both a heart and a head. (Bais HaLevy – Ma’ayana shel Torah) SPARE NO EFFORT

Vayorotz Haeved L’Krasa
“And the servant ran towards her”

Rashi comments that Eliezer ran towards Rivka (Rebecca) because he noticed that the water miraculously rose up toward her as she neared the well.
The Ramban explains that Rashi inferred this from the verse (Gen. 24:16) which describes how Rivka initially filled her pitcher. The Torah omits the words “and she drew the water.” This indicates that was no need for her to draw it out from the well and this was because the water rose toward her. In contrast, when the Torah describes how Rivka drew water for Eliezer’s camels (ibid. v. 20) it does use the term “and she drew .” The Ramban’s explanation answers one question but raises another. Why didn’t the water rise when Rivka drew for the camels? Once Rivka siezed upon the opportunity to do this act of kindness, every effort that she spent doing it earned her extra merit. She gained merit in proportion to the difficulty she incurred. Had the water risen up in a miraculous manner then it would have reduced the quality of her good deed. (Kedushas Levi – Ma’ayana shel Torah)

“Yitzchak went out lasuach (to meditate) in the field…” (Genesis 24:62-63).
“Lasuach means prayer” (Rashi).
“Winter is pregnancy, summer is birth” (Sichot HaRan #144).

The day is winding down. Hopefully, much has been accomplished. Even if that “much” has only been on a microcosmic scale, within your own daled amot (literally, four ells; colloquially, little corner) that are true, real, and valuable accomplishments. Nonetheless, you’re tired, your energies have been pretty much spent.
You are in winterland. You want to hibernate. And even if events have part of you wanting to hide from life, you know you can’t; you know that God is really just prodding you on to some greater good, to some insight or intimacy with Him. You are ready to enter pregnancy, as both mother and child.
Pregnancy is a contradictory time, both for the child and the mother. The child is enveloped in a physically dark place—but an angel teaches him Torah and with that light he sees from one end of the world to the other. He is in place that is totally nourishing, where all he does is take and gives nothing in return—nothing but the promise of a new life full of promise. The child is extremely fragile and utterly defenseless. Yet this helpless weakling makes the most fantastic leap of progress: from non-existent to human being.
For the mother as well, there are contradictions. She must be protector just at the time her strength is taxed. She must share everything she has and her being when she herself needs to take more and be nurtured. She must watch others around her move forward, “do,” while she herself seems to be inactive, when in fact her inactivity makes the greatest contribution possible—a human being who can recognize the Creator.

We must fulfill the maternal role, protecting and nourishing ourselves, so that our fetal self will develop as fully as necessary.
Yitzchak Avinu (our Patriarch) had spent his spiritual energy—he had literally put his neck on the line to do God’s will. Now he had to be re-born, to enter a state of growth that would enable him to carry on his task of founding a people dedicated solely to the mission of bringing glory to God’s name—the Jews. So he went off to the field to pray. As he did, he saw the camels arriving, bearing his future wife, Rivkah Emeinu (our Matriarch), the finishing touch to his birth, to his ability to recognize the Creator.
Rebbe Nachman writes:
Be aware that when a person goes out to pray in a field, all the flora joins and assists his prayer. They add strength to it. This is why prayer is called siach (bush; see Genesis 2:5). This is what is meant by the verse, “Yitzchak went out lasuach in the field”—his prayer/meditation was assisted and built on the strength the flora gave him.
Thus, one of the curses is, “nor will the earth provide her yevul” (produce; Deuteronomy 11:17). Everything the earth produces must supply its energy into prayer/meditation. Whenever it cannot, it is an instance of “nor will the earth provide her yevul.” For even when one does not actually pray in a field, the earth’s produce, namely, anything which nourishes a person, like, his eating and drinking, etc., assists his prayer. It is just that when one is in a field, when one is even closer physical proximity to the flora, then all the flora and produce contribute their energy to his prayer.
Thus, in Hebrew the word YeVUL is an acronym for the verse, “Yitzchak went out to meditate in the field”—for all the produce prayed with him….
From all that the earth produces, from everything that nourishes us, we must coax out a prayer. We must use our maternal selves to make this world as womb-like as possible for ourselves and others, so that we may recognize our Creator to the utmost when the world is born again with the coming of the Mashiach.

Pearls of Life
The Pearls of Life bring the Chofetz Chaim who wrote that one should accustom themselves not to speak about others. They should focus on matters of interest and not of people of interest. When one does find it necessary to discuss others, they should be as brief as possible. The Chofetz Chaim said that he heard that regarding the great Torah Genius, Rabbi Raphael of Hamburg, that he resigned his post as Rabbi four years prior to his passing. From that time on, he would ask those who visited him that as long as they were in his home they should not speak about other people. Our sages went further and warned that “One should never speak the praises of their fellow [excessively] for praise will inevitably lead to criticism. [ARACHIN, 6A]. If one does speak it should be for a constructive purpose [toeles] and when doing so be as brief as possible.
Yeshiva Pirchei Shoshanim

Edited and compiled as learned from my Torah masters
Shabbat Shalom

Sarah lived 127 years—all of them full and perfect. (Genesis 23:1; Bereishit Rabbah 58:1)
Avraham aged, coming with days… (Genesis 24:1).
This week’s parasha teaches us that our first set of parents were not merely chronologically blessed, but spent every moment of life well. Since a person’s lifespan and nature are patterned after those of his parents (The Aleph-Bet Book, Nature B:1), here are some selections relating to acquiring a long life.
God saw all that He made and—behold!—it was meod (very) good (Genesis 1:31). Meod refers to the Angel of Death (Bereishit Rabbah 9:10).
Fear of God adds days (Proverbs 10:27).
One who does not take the day of death to heart has no fear of God (The Aleph-Bet Book, Fear A:34).
The Angel of Death is none other than Satan. Part of Satan’s job is to entice us to sin. If, God forbid, we succumb, it is his job to exact punishment. No one (healthy) likes to be punished. In our quest to avoid punishment we avoid sin and gain life.
Someone may ask, “Is fear of punishment a legitimate reason to observe the mitzvot? Is it fear of God that I have or fear of suffering?” Rebbe Nachman answers this question by teaching that without fear of retribution it is impossible to begin serving God. Even a saint must have such fear, for few can be so devoted to God because of love (Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom #5).

One who hates money merits long life (The Aleph-Bet Book, Money A:40).
The Talmud devotes almost an entire page to finding out how various Sages acquired long life (Megilah 27b-28a). When asked how he merited long life, Rebbe Nechunya ben HaKaneh answered that he had been a vatran with his money. In praising Job the Talmud tells us that he, too, was a vatran (Bava Batra 15b). Rashi explains that Job didn’t quibble over the small change. Anaf Yosef elaborates: By rounding up the price and paying a few extra pennies for merchandise or services that he had ordered, Job showed that he had a generous spirit. Someone who doesn’t stand on a few pence that are coming to him, certainly gives charity or a present with an open hand.
Avraham Avinu (Abraham our Patriarch) was also a vatran as we know from his legendary hospitality. Rebbe Nachman teaches that because Avraham Avinu was a vatran he successfully overcame the barriers that surrounded the good of the day, each and every day. The “good” is Torah which brings long life (Likutey Moharan I, Lesson #84; Berakhot 5a; Proverbs 3:16).

How does one live a life that is full, with never a wasted moment? How does one gain wisdom and good deeds day in and day out? By starting anew everyday, as the Rebbe did; by asking oneself, as the Rebbe did, “What can I do to be worthy of being a Jew, to taste Judaism?” One has to add and build on to yesterday’s accomplishments (Likutey Halakhot, Tefillin 5:5)
Rebbe Nachman was once asked why his maternal grandmother, Udel the Baal Shem Tov’s daughter, was held in such high esteem by the Baal Shem Tov. The Rebbe answered that his grandmother would constantly ask herself, “What can I do for Hashem now?” (Oral Tradition)
There’s no place for neuroses in Judaism. We are not perpetual-mitzvah machines. We are human beings and, as such, have a responsibility to take proper care of the soul’s container, i.e., the body. As the Rebbe told Reb Dov, one of his chassidim, “Sleep and eat—just watch your time” (Kokhevei Or, Anshei Moharan #21)

V’Hoyoh HaNaarah Asher Omar Ailehah Hati Na Kadech V’eshtoh V’Omrah Shisaih V’gam Gmalecha Ashkeh Osah Hochachto L’Avdecho L’Yitzchok
“And it shall be that the girl that I will say to her “Please tilt your pitcher so that I may drink” and she will (afterwards) say (to me) “And also your camels I shall water.” She (is the one ) you have identified for your servant Yitzchok (Isaac).
Eliezer was sent on a vital mission by his master Avraham (Abraham). He was charged to find a wife for Yitzchok (Isaac). He devised a test to screen potential candidates and he prayed for success. Avraham was the paradign of kindness and hospitality. The girl who was worthy of joining the household of Avraham should sieze every opportunity to do a good deed. Therefore, Eliezer’s test measured kindness. He looked for a girl who would freely volunteer to draw the huge amount of water needed by a caravan of thirsty camels. There is even more to Eliezer’s test than meets the eye, because the test also demanded intelligence and resourcefulness. Eliezer, a perfect stranger, was to request a drink for himself. He assumed that the girl will have no cup for him to drink from and that he will drink directly from the pitcher.
Now, what should she do with the water that remains in the pitcher? She can’t bring it home to her family because the stranger may have a contagious disease. She can’t spill it out because it may offend the stranger. Her best course of action would then be to offer the water to the stranger’s herd of camels. In this manner she would avoiding hurting the stranger’s feelings. Thus, this test would ensure that Yitzchok would get a wife who had both a heart and a head. (Bais HaLevy – Ma’ayana shel Torah) SPARE NO EFFORT
Vayorotz Haeved L’Krasa
“And the servant ran towards her”
Rashi comments that Eliezer ran towards Rivka (Rebecca) because he noticed that the water miraculously rose up toward her as she neared the well.
The Ramban explains that Rashi inferred this from the verse (Gen. 24:16) which describes how Rivka initially filled her pitcher. The Torah omits the words “and she drew the water.” This indicates that was no need for her to draw it out from the well and this was because the water rose toward her. In contrast, when the Torah describes how Rivka drew water for Eliezer’s camels (ibid. v. 20) it does use the term “and she drew .” The Ramban’s explanation answers one question but raises another. Why didn’t the water rise when Rivka drew for the camels? Once Rivka siezed upon the opportunity to do this act of kindness, every effort that she spent doing it earned her extra merit. She gained merit in proportion to the difficulty she incurred. Had the water risen up in a miraculous manner then it would have reduced the quality of her good deed. (Kedushas Levi – Ma’ayana shel Torah)

“Yitzchak went out lasuach (to meditate) in the field…” (Genesis 24:62-63).
“Lasuach means prayer” (Rashi).
“Winter is pregnancy, summer is birth” (Sichot HaRan #144).
The day is winding down. Hopefully, much has been accomplished. Even if that “much” has only been on a microcosmic scale, within your own daled amot (literally, four ells; colloquially, little corner) that are true, real, and valuable accomplishments. Nonetheless, you’re tired, your energies have been pretty much spent.
You are in winterland. You want to hibernate. And even if events have part of you wanting to hide from life, you know you can’t; you know that God is really just prodding you on to some greater good, to some insight or intimacy with Him. You are ready to enter pregnancy, as both mother and child.
Pregnancy is a contradictory time, both for the child and the mother. The child is enveloped in a physically dark place—but an angel teaches him Torah and with that light he sees from one end of the world to the other. He is in place that is totally nourishing, where all he does is take and gives nothing in return—nothing but the promise of a new life full of promise. The child is extremely fragile and utterly defenseless. Yet this helpless weakling makes the most fantastic leap of progress: from non-existent to human being.
For the mother as well, there are contradictions. She must be protector just at the time her strength is taxed. She must share everything she has and her being when she herself needs to take more and be nurtured. She must watch others around her move forward, “do,” while she herself seems to be inactive, when in fact her inactivity makes the greatest contribution possible—a human being who can recognize the Creator.

We must fulfill the maternal role, protecting and nourishing ourselves, so that our fetal self will develop as fully as necessary.
Yitzchak Avinu (our Patriarch) had spent his spiritual energy—he had literally put his neck on the line to do God’s will. Now he had to be re-born, to enter a state of growth that would enable him to carry on his task of founding a people dedicated solely to the mission of bringing glory to God’s name—the Jews. So he went off to the field to pray. As he did, he saw the camels arriving, bearing his future wife, Rivkah Emeinu (our Matriarch), the finishing touch to his birth, to his ability to recognize the Creator.
Rebbe Nachman writes:
Be aware that when a person goes out to pray in a field, all the flora joins and assists his prayer. They add strength to it. This is why prayer is called siach (bush; see Genesis 2:5). This is what is meant by the verse, “Yitzchak went out lasuach in the field”—his prayer/meditation was assisted and built on the strength the flora gave him.
Thus, one of the curses is, “nor will the earth provide her yevul” (produce; Deuteronomy 11:17). Everything the earth produces must supply its energy into prayer/meditation. Whenever it cannot, it is an instance of “nor will the earth provide her yevul.” For even when one does not actually pray in a field, the earth’s produce, namely, anything which nourishes a person, like, his eating and drinking, etc., assists his prayer. It is just that when one is in a field, when one is even closer physical proximity to the flora, then all the flora and produce contribute their energy to his prayer.
Thus, in Hebrew the word YeVUL is an acronym for the verse, “Yitzchak went out to meditate in the field”—for all the produce prayed with him….
From all that the earth produces, from everything that nourishes us, we must coax out a prayer. We must use our maternal selves to make this world as womb-like as possible for ourselves and others, so that we may recognize our Creator to the utmost when the world is born again with the coming of the Mashiach.

Pearls of Life
The Pearls of Life bring the Chofetz Chaim who wrote that one should accustom themselves not to speak about others. They should focus on matters of interest and not of people of interest. When one does find it necessary to discuss others, they should be as brief as possible. The Chofetz Chaim said that he heard that regarding the great Torah Genius, Rabbi Raphael of Hamburg, that he resigned his post as Rabbi four years prior to his passing. From that time on, he would ask those who visited him that as long as they were in his home they should not speak about other people. Our sages went further and warned that “One should never speak the praises of their fellow [excessively] for praise will inevitably lead to criticism. [ARACHIN, 6A]. If one does speak it should be for a constructive purpose [toeles] and when doing so be as brief as possible.
Yeshiva Pirchei Shoshanim

Edited and compiled as learned from my Torah masters

Shabbat Shalom

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