In this week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah, Sarah dies at the age of 127 and Abraham purchases a cave to bury her. Avraham then sends his servant to his native land, Aram, in order to find a suitable wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac. The servant decides that the best way to find the perfect match for Isaac would be to stay by a well and wait for a women to offer water to both him and all his camels. The first woman to do so was Rebecca, Abrahams great niece. Upon the discovery of Rebecca’s family ties to Isaac, Laban, Rebecca’s brother, and his family decide that the pairing of Rebecca and Isaac was divinely ordained. At the end of the parsha, Isaac and Rebecca marry and set out for Canaan. Abraham dies at 175 years old and is buried in the cave next to his wife.
From the death of one woman, to the search for a wife, this week’s parsha, Chayei Sarah, outlines the flourishment and future of the Jewish nation by introducing the essence of our values. You may be thinking, how can we, the Jewish people, the people who over analyze every word of every text we are given, fit our religious foundations into one weekly portion? Well, the answer is in the name of the parsha, Chayei Sarah, the Life of Sarah.
Sarah was the ultimate definition of a role model. Even with the difficult experiences she dealt with, her outlook on life was constantly optimistic. She supported her husband with one hundred percent blind faith in building a nation and following a new G-d that was completely foreign to her. The woman had a baby at 90 years old, I think that alone deserves a ton of respect. In this one parsha we commemorate the life, opposed to the death of our first matriarch. This woman’s life helps display two core values of our Jewish identity, one being the state of Israel and the other being the importance of strong Jewish women.
After Sarah dies, Abraham buys land to bury his wife. This transaction is the first official purchase of any part of the Land of Israel. When Abraham dies, he is then laid to rest on the same property he bought for his wife, and soon after his son and most of our Jewish matriarchs and patriarchs. This property, known as the Marat Machpelah, is the first tangible transactional tie the Jewish people had to the land. Abraham’s purchase flourished into the beautiful country and religious epicenter we have today, Israel.
Not many people get the honor of having a parsha named after them, Sarah being one of the few. She exhibits many of the qualities every Jewish woman should possess including the ability to manage her home into upholding good values and the responsibility of teaching her children and guiding them on the right path. She was kind, determined and an excellent mother. Sarah set the tone of importance for women in Judaism and earned her name as our first matriarch because of her incredible leadership and role model characteristics. We also learn from this parsha the importance of kindness in a women through Rebecca. She offers to help a man she did not know which led her to a marriage proposal and secured a position as our second matriarch.
From this Torah portion, we can learn the qualities needed in order to be great just like our Matriarchs, Rebecca and Sarah. We earned the first piece of land that later prospered into the land of Israel. So much can be learned from the inspirational women in this parsha. With the difficult situation currently occurring in Israel, it is essential that we have reassurance of biblical ties to the Jewish homeland because our great patriarch purchased it in order for us to one day all be together and display the characteristics taught to us by our Matriarchs.
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