From Rabbi David: The Torah portion for this week is Chayei Sara, The Life of Sara. The portion begins with the death of Sara who dies at the age of 127 in the Land of Canaan. Abraham deeply mourns his beloved Sara. Needing to bury her he purchases the Cave of Machpelah from a local Hittite, paying the asking price without bargaining. This allows him to be fully independent without being beholden to the burial traditions of others.
This portion is the first time burial is mentioned in the Torah. Our traditional Jewish values of burial and mourning actually come from this text. Just with the title, “The Life of Sara” we learn the necessity of needing to honor the life of one who has passed. We also learn the importance of having a period of mourning.
The portion goes on to describe finding a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac. Abraham sends his servant back to his homeland to find a wife from his tribe. The servant asks for a sign from G-d to choose the best wife, one who offers him a sip of water from the well. A cousin to Isaac, Rebecca, not only offers to give the servant water but his camels as well. The servant takes her back to the land of Canaan to be Isaac’s wife.
From Cantor Lee: Rabbi David and I have officiated so many funerals over the years. Each one is a reminder of what is really important. In the end all that matters is how we treated and loved others. The Torah gives us this message by emphasizing the kindness of Rebecca. This has also shaped us as Jewish people with kindness being a core value.
In tapping into the energy of this week’s Torah portion which began Saturday at sundown, it didn’t surprise me that we had a funeral on Sunday. One of the granddaughters, our former Bat Mitzvah, spoke with tears of how her grandmother’s love had such an impact on her life.
This week Rabbi David and I will be paying attention to the teachings and energy of Chayei Sara, the Life of Sarah, and especially to our core value of kindness which is a manifestation of Love. Are we being kind in our thoughts, words and actions? To ourselves and others? Are we doing the same with those who think differently than we do?
Tapping into or asking to align with the energy of Chayi Sara can also help to further bring kindness into our lives for ourselves and others. So we are taking advantage of it!! Hope you will too!
Love, Rabbi David and Cantor Lee
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