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Where Was Sarah During the Akeidah (the Binding of Isaac)?

In Parashat Chayei Sarah (the life of Sarah), we learn that our biblical matriarch Sarah lived 127 years, she died, and Abraham purchased her burial cave in Hebron (Gen. 23:1-20). Sadly, the only Torah portion named after a woman provides few hints about her life or final days.

D'var Torah By: 
How an Enduring Legacy Can Prolong Our Life From Generation to Generation
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Frederick Reeves

Rabbi Kipnes and Ms. November start their discussion of Parashat Chayei Sarah with Dr. Och’s observation that modern readers feel disappointment when a portion named “the life of Sarah” begins with her death. Commentators going back as far as Rashi have tried to expand on the details of her life. 

Adding Life to Years

Chayei Sarah begins with the recording of Sarah’s death. But the fullness of Sarah’s and Abraham’s years and accomplishments leads us to appreciate the varied possibilities of living with purpose and dignitiy in old age.

D'var Torah By: 
Seasoning Wisdom with Reason and Good Sense
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Jonathan Blake

As we contemplate the accomplishments of an aged Abraham and Sarah, we reflect on the words of a commentator to Pirkei Avot 5:21 who suggests that the word for "old," zakein, means a wise person who knows how to season wisdom with reason and good sense.

A Legacy of Kindness, Generosity, and Love

Ironically, this week's Torah portion, Chayei Sarah ("Sarah lived"), is not about Sarah's life but about her legacy. Beginning with mention of her death and of Abraham's great mourning for her, the parashah primarily focuses on the Bible's first story of betrothal, namely that of Isaac to his cousin Rebekah. The relationship between their engagement and subsequent marriage, and Sarah's legacy becomes clear as the parashah unfolds.

D'var Torah By: 
It’s Complicated
Davar Acher By: 
Steven Kushner

Families are — in a word — complicated. Dr. Ellen Umansky deftly lays this out for us surrounding the impact of Sarah's death, specifically Abraham's taking control of his son's future, and Rebekah's presence providing "comfort" to a grieving Isaac. In all, this story is suggestive of more than enough fodder for several years of serious psychotherapy. In other words, this family is just like any of ours.

God as Matchmaker

With so many matchmaking and online dating services, it's no surprise that people are looking for love, but as a recent Pew study1 shows, their search results in marriage less and less o

D'var Torah By: 
Real Prayer and Real Love
Davar Acher By: 
Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi

Real prayer comes in many forms, just like love.

Deliberate Destiny

Different circumstances demand different paradigms of thought and action, and the Jewish people have advanced through history by fulfilling the action demanded by the moment.

D'var Torah By: 
God Can’t Do It Alone
Davar Acher By: 
Robert Orkand

As Rabbi Segal points out, Parashat Chayei Sarah tells us two stories, both of which are presented in intricate detail.

How Strange the Way of Providence: The Righteous Are Called Living

Our ancient sages raised two interesting questions about the very first verse of this week's Torah portion, Chayei Sarah.

D'var Torah By: 
This is the Life of Sarah
Davar Acher By: 
Kyla Epstein Schneider

This week's Torah portion, Chayei Sarah, contains two major narratives: Abraham's acquisition of a burial site for Sarah, his wife, and the story of how Abraham arranges


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