Living a Full Life
The sedra opens with the death of our beloved Sarah. Aged 127, she had completed her life’s mission and had given all she could to the world. Following her death, Abraham bought the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron, which remains the burial place for most of our forefathers and mothers. Eliezer, his servant, is then sent to Charan charged with a seemingly impossible task: to find a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac. Who could possibly match up to the care and devotion of Sarah? He meets Rebecca, observes her sensitivity and loving kindness and instantly knows that she would be the perfect match. The two are introduced and married.
Our sages make an interesting observation in how the text presents Sarah’s age when she dies. It does not simply state she was 127, but says “ Sarah’s lifetime was one hundred years, twenty years, and seven years…” What is the significance of this phraseology?
Rashi explains that she possessed the innocence of a 7 year old, the strength of a 20 year old, and the wisdom of a 100 year old. Rav Soloveitchik elaborates; her innocence was that of a 7 year old, demonstrated by her faith in God – she fully believed in her father in heaven, just like a child. She relied on this comforting and unshakable faith throughout her life, unlike an older and more cynical adult who may not appreciate the imagery of God as our father. She also possessed the physical strength of a 20 year old – she felt able to achieve anything with her energy and charisma. Lastly, her wisdom was that of a 100 year old – Sarah had learnt lessons through life and was able to look upon the world with clear judgment and life experience.
Sarah’s achievement was her ability to continuously live her life with all three. From a young girl to an older woman, she had the maturity and virtue to keep living her life to the fullest and with the most meaning.
The innocence, strength and wisdom of Sarah should serve as an impetus for us to grow and develop, because they are traits that lie dormant in us all. Our goal is to take the lessons of Sarah, who she was and what she stood for, and live our lives with the same purity and example she set for us.