Parshat Chayeh Sarah – “Connecting the Past, Present and Future” 2009
The substance of Am Yisrael is applied through the generations, it’s destiny preserved as one generation “punches out” and another “punches in”, always accounting for the time. We travel down the corridors of time with different approaches to practice of faith in G-d as exemplified by the first 2 human building blocks, Abraham and Sarah. The parsha begins with the passing of Sarah Immeinu – the symbol of Chayeh Sha’ah, the living hour of time, maintaining hour by hour the household, preparing the day to day needs, thinking things through and supervising over the daily challenges that arise including education, correcting faulty dealings between the family and it’s environs, making people glad to join and cooperate with them, feeding them, washing their clothes, taking care of all the practical needs and praying every moment of the day for success in these endeavors. The needs of THIS world-NOW were her job. This day to day preservation was represented by the candle that always shined in her tent, lighting up all of those around her in comfort and radiant energy.
The Bereishit Raba (58:2) brings down that as the sun was setting on the life of Sarah, a new sun began to rise in the form of Rivka who was born on the day of Sarah’s passing. This great soul conceived in Aram Naharayim, Avraham’s “home town” born to Betuel Ben Nachor came to take the place of Sarah as another building block placed upon the former. The light was returned to the tent and Yitzchak, the son of Avraham was consoled through the continuity of Chayeh Sha’ah.
The parsha is completed with the passing away of Avraham Avinu, the symbol of Chayeh Olam, Infinite time, being the emblem of everlasting faith implemented in all his acts of self sacrifice for the human race for all of eternity. His life’s work made the preparation for eternal life – belief in one G-d, connecting all of those to Olam Habah, the next world. Both Chayeh Olam and Chayeh Sha’ah include different tempos in the flow of Netzach (foreverness), each Mashpiah (personal influence) putting in their time toward a life beyond the grave.
In relation to time and its connection to the concepts mentioned here, Harav Chaim HaCohen shlita said this week that a person needs to set an alarm clock a few times a week and wake up to the ring remembering how the father of time runs the world. Time ebbs and flows but it is up to us to implement the ideals of Jewish life that can never be dead and buried. As a partner to the creator, we must take responsibility in the 2 realms of Chayeh Sha’ah and Chayeh Olam – what we do with our time- by continuing the work through time and through the generations. This makes time stand still, connecting the past, present and future.
Shabbat Shalom, Leah Goldsmith