22 November 2016
Although it is called Chayei Sarah (“the life of Sarah”), this week’s parasha is actually about her death, the acquisition of a burial site for her by Abraham and his arrangement of a marriage for his son, Isaac.
In his grief for his lifelong partner, Abraham purchases a burial site from the Hittites in a cave named Machpelah (located by Muslim and Jewish tradition in the city of Hebron). It is the first purchase of real estate by a Jew in (what is today) the land of Israel. Following the burial of Sarah, Abraham reaffirms her life by seeking a wife for their son, Isaac.
Her death prompted two key responses: the purchase of land and the perpetuation of the people. Both are critical for our survival as a Jewish community. It is imperative that the land of Israel be secure and the Jewish people sustained. We have a clear role to play in the ongoing story of the Jews through the continuity of Jewish life both in Israel and here in Greater Washington. Like Abraham in this week’s portion, let us reaffirm life by honoring our past, living active and engaged Jewish lives today and investing in our future.
Tomorrow, my mom will celebrate her 100th birthday. My brother and I, our spouses, her seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren will all gather in Sarasota, FL for this truly wonderful simcha. It is an extra blessing that November 24 falls on Thanksgiving Day this year, as we are most thankful for Mom’s life, health and extraordinary outlook. We look forward to honoring her past, celebrating her present and giving thanks for the future she and my dad made possible.