21 Cheshvan, 5772
Of all the weekly sections studied, there is little doubt that this week's is perhaps the most ironic. Called Chayei-Sarah (Sarah's life) and found in Genesis 23:1-25:18, the parashah not only deals with her death, but how quickly she is forgotten. The parashah tells us that Sarah died in Hebron at the age of 127. Abraham goes to Hebron (it is never clearly stated what Sarah was doing there) and purchases the Ma'arat Ha'Machpelah (the cave of the multiplication) as a family burial site. As soon as Abraham buries Sarah, the text changes course. Abraham now seeks a wife for Isaac. From now on this parashah will focus not on Sarah, representing the past, but on Rebecca (Rivka in Hebrew) the future. The parashah ends first with Abraham's marrying Keturah and his starting a new family. It then speaks of Abraham's death (25:8-9) and of how Ishmael and Isaac came together to bury their father and to meet for perhaps the last time.
The parashah then is one of ironies. Its name would have us deal with life, but it theme teaches us that it is only toward the end of our lives that most of us come to understand life, come to grips with it and come to appreciate life. Thus, ironically we often only begin to live when we realize that all of us will depart from this world, that time is our most limited resource and that it is the one resource that can never be recovered. We might find this scenario somewhat depressing until we realize that Judaism teaches us that if we are smart, that we need not wait until life's end to appreciate the gift of life.
We have the choice of merely existing or truly living, of wasting our days with anger and remorse or of seeing each day as the birth of a new world of opportunities. This week's parashah teaches us that time continues with or without us, that the universe does not revolve around any of us, and that we can chose to spend our G'd-given days in a wasteful or creative manner.
This week's parashah asks each of us questions such as: what mitzvah do you do each day? How is the world better off for your being a part of it? Do you waste time or spend it wisely? What impact will you leave on the world?
These are not easy questions with which to grapple, but they are the essence of life. This week's Torah portion teaches us that no one will live for ever, but what we do in life does matter. How are you spending your life? When you look back upon your life will it have been a one filled with frustration and egocentricity or will it have been a life filled with goodness and satisfaction? Judaism gives us the idea of free will, how will you chose to use your free will?
Youtubes de la Semana:
Uganda Torah Project: This is a video you do not want to miss
L'Biddurchem/The Humor Section
Mrs. Smith, an elderly woman of 90 years, went into the doctor's office. When the doctor asked why she was there, she replied, "I'd like to have some birth control pills."
Quite surprised, the doctor thought for a minute and then said, "Excuse me, Mrs. Smith, but you're 90 years old. What possible use could you have for birth control pills?"
The woman responded, "They help me sleep better."
The doctor thought some more and continued, "How in the world do birth control pills help you to sleep?"
The woman said, "Since I started putting them in my granddaughter's orange juice I sleep like a baby!"