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ותאמר שתה אדוני

She said, drink, my lord. (24:18)

Eliezer asked Rivkah (Imeinu) if she had water to spare. The young girl’s actions, her outstanding chesed, kindness, in not only providing for Eliezer, but also for his camels, indicated the type of person she was. In addition, she did not tarry in carrying out his request. As soon as Eliezer asked her for water, she immediately ran to do his bidding. These two aspects of Rivkah’s character are evident. Another one of her attributes is often overlooked, but should be underscored: derech eretz, manners, respect, human decency. This, explains Horav Yitzchak Yaakov Ruderman, zl, is to be gleaned from…

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ויהיו חיי שרה מאה שנה ועשרים שנה ושבע שנים שני חיי שרה

Sarah’s lifetime was one hundred years, twenty years and seven years, the years of Sarah’s life. (23:1)

Rashi explains the seeming redundancy of shnei chayei Sarah, the years of Sarah’s life, by asserting that kulam shavin l’tovah, all of the years of Sarah Imeinu’s life were equal in their goodness. This does not mean that Sarah did not experience adversity in her life. Childless for ninety years is definitely not what anyone would call “good.” Sarah, however, accepted whatever was thrown at her as being the ratzon, will, of Hashem. Sarah had many positive character traits and attributes, abiding commitment to Hashem which she instilled in our nation’s DNA. As the first Matriarch, she is the Mother…

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ויהיו חיי שרה מאה שנה ועשרים שנה ושבע שנים

Sarah’s lifetime was one hundred years, twenty years and seven years. (23:1)

Rashi explains that the repetition of the word “years” divides the life of Sarah Imeinu into three periods, each with its own uniqueness. Each period, however, also shares a particular characteristic with its predecessor. Thus, at one hundred, she was as free of sin as a twenty-year old (a person does not suffer Heavenly punishment until age twenty), and at twenty she maintained the innocent, wholesome beauty of a seven-year-old. Rashi concludes, Kulan shavin l’tovah; “All of her years were equal in goodness.” Our Matriarch had a good life, in which each of her superior character traits synchronized with one…

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ואמר אל אדני אלי לא תלך האשה אחרי

And I said to my master, “Perhaps the woman will not follow me?” (24:39)

Life is not always a bed of roses. Disappointments are part of the Heavenly-designed world in which we live.  How one reacts and responds to disappointments is the barometer of his acknowledgement that it is Hashem – not he – who runs the world. Accepting disappointment — and, in fact, growing from it — is the mark of a great person. When Avraham Avinu sent his trusted student/servant, Eliezer, on a mission to find a suitable mate for his son, Yitzchak (Avinu), he set forth one critical criterion which was non-negotiable: Under no circumstances was Yitzchak permitted to live with…

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והיה הנערה אשר אמר אליה הטי נא כדך ואשתה ואמרה שתה וגם גמליך אשקה אתה הכחת לעבדך ליצחק

Let it be that the maiden to whom I shall say, “Please tip over your jug so I may drink,” and who replies, “Drink, and I will water your camels,” her will You have designated for Your servant. (24:14)

Osah hochachta, “He will You have designated”: She is fitting for Yitzchak Avinu due to her performance of acts of lovingkindness. Such a girl is worthy of entering the home of Avraham Avinu, the Patriarch who personified gemillas chesed, acts of lovingkindness. While offering to give water also for the camels was certainly an act of thoughtfulness and chesed, was that all it was? Horav Sholom Schwadron, zl, observes that there was another factor– something about the manner in which she carried out her act of kindness. The Torah states, Vatomar sh’sei adoni va’timaher va’torad kadah; “And she said, ‘Drink,…

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ואברהם זקן בא בימים וד' ברך את אברהם בכל

Now Avraham was old, well on in years, and Hashem had blessed him with everything. (24:1)

We think of life as measured by years: a long life is one during which one has lived many years; a short life is defined the opposite way. Horav Eliyahu Lopian, zl, derives from the above pasuk that we should measure life by days – complete days. He quotes the Zohar HaKadosh, who teaches that at the beginning of each day, a person’s forthcoming “day” asks him, “What will it be today?” What type of day will you have? Will you stand up to the challenges and tests prepared for you by the yetzer hora, evil inclination? Will your yetzer…

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תנו לי אחזת קבר עמכם ואקברה מתי מלפני

Grant me burial property with you, so that I may bury my dead from before me. (23:4)

Achuzah (according to Horav S.R. Hirsch, zl) means settlement, the act of becoming domiciled in a given place. When Avraham asked permission to bury his wife, Sarah, he asked that she be able to rest in a place that would be her permanent, everlasting home. Avraham Avinu lived his entire life as a wanderer, refusing to settle in any one place, because this would contradict his mission in life: to reach out wherever possible to touch the lives of many, wherever they may be. He was not going to sit back and wait for people to come to him. He…

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ותמת שרה בקרית ארבע

Sarah died in Kiryas Arba. (23:2)

Rashi expounds on the juxtaposition of the sudden passing of Sarah Imeinu upon the Akeidah, Binding of Yitzchak. Apparently, Satan came and informed Sarah of Avraham Avinu’s intention to slaughter Yitzchak. U’kimaat shelo nishchat, “And before he could have been slaughtered,” she died. Sarah heard that Yitzchak was about to be slaughtered, and she died. Why does Rashi emphasize the fact that she died before he was slaughtered? It is obvious what happened. Rashi could have simply said that the very news that her son was on the way to his death, to be slaughtered by his father, was too…

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ותמת שרה בקרית ארבע... ויבא אברהם לספד לשרה

Sarah died in Kiryas Arba… and Avraham came to eulogize Sarah. (23:2)

Rashi explains the juxtaposition of the passing of Sarah Imeinu upon the Akeidas Yitzchak, because it was as a result of the Akeidah that her “sudden” passing came about. The Satan told her that Avraham Avinu was about to slaughter her one and only child, Yitzchak Avinu, and she died from the shock. Before we continue, it must be made clear that Sarah Imeinu died when she was supposed to die. Hashem creates the circumstances. With our limited minds, we unfortunately only see what occurs: an elderly woman succumbs to the news that her son is being slaughtered. It may…

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ויקם אברהם מעל פני מתו

Avraham rose up from the presence of his dead. (23:3)

In his Tiferes Yehonasan, Horav Yehonasan Eibeshutz, zl, explains this pasuk based upon an original idea that only those righteous who died through the medium of missas neshikah, kiss from Hashem – and not through the Malach HaMaves, Angel of Death – were allowed burial in the Meoras HaMachpeilah. Thus, when Avraham Avinu petitioned to have Sarah Imeinu buried in the Meoras HaMachpeilah, he was certain that she was worthy of acceptance. Chazal describe the Angel of Death’s manner of taking a person’s life. “He stands over the head of the soon-to-be-deceased. In his hand is a sword; the tip…

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