Rabbi Label Lam
Parshas Chayei Sarah - - A Good Life
In this weeks parsha we read that at the age of one hundred and twenty
seven, Sarah Imeinu died. It seems strange that right after we read of her
death, it is added that Sarah had a good life. One might think that though
she had a long life, a life full of good deeds, it was anything but a good
life. Anyone can see from reading the basic text, all the troubles Sarah
had. First she had to travel far away, then there was a famine. She was
kidnapped twice, and experienced years of childlessness. Finally Sarah gave
birth to a boy. Not long after that however, Yishmael, the son of the
concubine Hagar, began to have a bad influence on her son. Both Yishmael and
Hagar had to be sent away. Now I would call that a hard and troublesome
life, full of sadness and hardships.
The reason why it says she had a good life, is because of the way she,
Sarah, looked at life.
Five years ago I was asked to help an elderly friend with a ride to the
doctor to have some stitches removed. I noted my friend's pleasant demeanor
and asked how she felt. "I'm fine, thank G-d" was her seemingly simple
answer. Her reply was so calm that I ventured to ask what her surgery had
been for. "Oh, I had a mastectomy" she said as if she was telling me how she
had a splinter removed. Thankfully, I kept my eyes on the road. I was
floored by her outlook on the whole thing. "I'm so sorry, I didn't know" was
all I could say. Then, in her hallmark style she proceeded to comfort me!
"That's alright" she said. "Don't take it so hard". "They found no
indication that any further treatment is necessary". My friend had prepared
a positive attitude before she was faced with adversity. She'll tell you
herself that the strength to heal and go on with her (inspiring) life came
from the knowledge that one's limited view of what it's all about is just
that, limited and that there is a higher goal.
The negative things that occur in ones life can be a devastation or an
opportunity to grow. As one tries to believe that life has a higher purpose
than the here and now, we can strive to cultivate a life like that of Sarah
Imeinu as my friend did and continues to do, may she live and be well. This
week we are being told the way Sarah saw her troubles, how she reacted to
the hardships. In her perspective, everything was for the best, and it was a
The story portion of this Dvartorah was contributed by Mrs. M. Green
Text Copyright © 2000 Rabbi Dovid Green and
Project Genesis, Inc.