Bereisheit Limood Chapter 23 - Chayei Sarah's Death - 23

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Bereisheit Limood Chapter 23

Genesis 23.1 - 20

Bereisheit Limood Video

Chayei Sarah's Death - 23


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By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Dean of Jewish Studies

B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC

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Genesis 23


Chayei Sarah's Death


Our Sages Teach that Sarah died when she was informed that Abraham Sacrificed her son Isaac. Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz and Rabbi Nosson Scherman, The Artscroll Tanach Series - Bereishis Vol. I(a) (Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 3rd Impression, 1989), p 861


Sarah died from the shock that Abraham offered her only child as a sacrifice. How could he do this? Why would he do such a thing? Sarah died without knowing Isaac was saved by a Messenger of The Lord. Sarah died without seeing Isaac marry. Sarah died thinking her life had been for not. Sarah did not meet Rivkah her daughter-in-law to be. Sarah did not have the privilege of dancing at Isaac's wedding. Sarah did not enjoy her grandchildren. Sarah died at the age of 127 years. She did not live to realize the fulfillment of many of her dreams.  This is how death is. When one dies one cannot complete their plans.


My Mother of blessed memory realized a short time before she died that she would not live to see the fulfillment of all her dreams. We spoke shortly before Momma entered eternity. Mother shared with me somewhat like Jacob shared with his sons before he entered the next life. Momma was busy about setting everything right. She wrote letters. She asked forgiveness of any individual she perhaps may have hurt. At that time, in my eyes she went way overboard to make sure her slate was very clean. My Mother was a very Holy Woman. She would grieve over her mistakes like few I have known. Mother took living righteously very seriously. Mother had an awareness she would soon be entering the next life soon. She checked and rechecked. She reviewed and reviewed her past. She wanted to enter the next life entirely righteous before her Maker. Many have been taken into the next life without notice. Many did not have the opportunity Momma had.


The other day I was speaking with a friend who works at a Senior's Center. She was sharing with me and another individual of folks who left home in the morning and did not return. Their life was snuffed out by...


So we are discussing death, yet our focus is on what Sarah went through to have this miracle baby, Issac that she only enjoyed for 37 years. In Chapter 21 we read of The Lord God Giving Abraham the promise of a son. We read that his names was to be Yitzchok, Isaac. 


We read that The Lord God would continue the Covenant of Abraham with his son Isaac.  So if you are Sarah and you just received really bad news, Isaac was sacrificed. How would you feel? What would run through your mind? Would you be angry with Abraham? Would you also be angry with The Lord God for giving you a precious child then taking him away? What about the covenant Promised by The Lord God? Would you question, what happened to the promise that Isaac would receive the Covenant of Abraham? How would that happen now? Sarah experienced being the captive of two very powerful men, the king of Egypt and the king of Gerar. She was the good wife. She left here family behind. She traveled with Abraham. She gave Hagar to Abraham to have a son by her because up until then she was ninety, she could not have children. Then after Isaac was born and grew Yishmael and Isaac were seen in a field quarreling over who should receive the double portion set aside for the firstborn. Ishmael was the firstborn of Hagar. Isaac was the firstborn of Sarah. Yishmael made sport of Isaac by shooting arrows around him. This is when Sarah informed Abraham that the son of the slave woman would not inherit with her son Isaac. This is when Yishmael and Hagar were sent out by Abraham in Genesis 21.9 - 14. Rabbi Avrohom Davis, The Mesudah Chumash A New Linear Translation Bereishis (Hoboken New Jersey, KTVA Publishing House, Inc., 1991) p 220


We see how Sarah kept a close eye on her son. We see that Sarah was protective of her only son, her hope of the future. Then this happens. Abraham takes Isaac to Mount Moriah to offer as a sacrifice. Hearing the lie that Isaac was dead was an awful blow. She was so devastated that she died upon hearing this awful news...

One morning many years ago on September 2nd I came downstairs from my bedroom to the kitchen on the main floor for breakfast. My Mother was crying. I was young and felt so sad to see my Mother crying. I inquired. What is a matter? My mother said today is your brother Donald Wayne's birthday. There was no comforting my Mother. My Brother, Donald Wayne passed away at the age of 2 months and 17 days old on December 2nd 1938. He died from pneumonia. May he rest in peace. Each February 21st my mother would cry for my brother Gary Lee may he rest in peace.  Seeing my Momma cry and hurt so much at such a young age was very difficult. Mother ALWAYS remembered the birth dates and Yahrzites / Death Anniversary of my brothers. It was always painful and tearful. There was no relief for my Mother on these days. My Father, may he rest in peace moved on. He could not understand my Mother mourning the deaths of her two sons. Revi mourns the death of her daughter Carrie, may she rest in peace. And like my Mother, several days leading up to Carrie's death Revi cries. Like my Mother Revi cannot be comforted. Revi has shared with me the connection she felt with her children from conception. A Mother feels the baby move, sleep and kick inside her. A mother feels the birth and feeding pains. Can we imagine what it is like for a mother whose children die before them? Can we imagine the hurt and suffering and tears? 


Our Matriarch Sarah went through so much to get to the  birth of Isaac that the news of his death, even though it was a lie, killed her. Sarah's heart broke in two. She died. Sarah lived a life of Holiness. She was prepared to enter the next life when called home. Yet, that does not mean Sarah wanted to leave Abraham and Isaac. Death is sad. Death does bring sadness. I look at my Mother as a lady like Sarah.



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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Akiva Gamliel published on May 1, 2015 5:23 PM.

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