Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Chaye Sarah

The following is a brief summary of a vort said over by R' Frand on the parsha. I have attempted to reproduce the vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

This week's parsha begins with a recitation of Sarah age (127) at the time of her death. Following the recitation of the years of Sarah's life (Chaye Sarah) the parsha makes little reference to Sarah as the remainder of the portion deals with Avraham's purchase of Ma'aras Hamachpeila and the quest to find a bride for Yitzchak. So why is the parsha called Chaye Sarah?

Rabbi Frand noted parenthetically that the same question could be asked about Parshas Vayechi - why is it called Vayechi when it is more about Ya'akov's death than his life.

Rabbi Frand answered these questions by making reference to the Sefer Milchemes Yehuda who brings a medrash from the beginning of Parshas Chaye Sarah. There is a pasuk in Tehillim which states - Yodea Hashem Yimei Temimim V'Nachalasam L'olom Tihiyeh - (Hashem knows the days of those who are tamim and their nachalah will forever be). We learn from this pasuk that even when a person has passed away, if he lived a life of Torah and mitzvos then his nachalah will continue forever. This was Sarah who is called Sarah Imeinu (our mother), whose impact has been felt for hundreds of generations after her death.

Rabbi Frand then quoted a vort from R' Chatzkel Abramski about another pasuk in Tehillim - Ki Lo B'Moso Yikach HaKol, Lo Yaraid Acharav Kivodo. This pasuk is traditionally translated as "Because not with his death will he take it all, his honor will not descend with him", a Jewish version of "you can't take it with you."

R' Abramski had a different take on the pasuk, as he learned it as a goal for a person to aspire to - that with the person's death he will not take it all with him as his acts will leave impressions behind in this world and the kavod created by the tzedakkah that he gave will endure in the institutions which were built by his acts of charity.

Finally, R' Frand quoted a vort from R' Chayim Shmulevitz about the consolation given to mourners - Hamakom Yinachem Eschem ... The "Hamakom" is usually translated as speaking of Hashem. However, R' Shmulevitz explains that the makom is the place that the person has made for himself in Gan Eden. This place should serve as a consolation.

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