This week’s Torah portion, Parshat חיי שרה (the life of Sarah) begins with Sarah Imeinu’s death after 127 years. The Pasuk itself reads “שָׂרָ֔ה מֵאָ֥ה שָׁנָ֛ה וְעֶשְׂרִ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה וְשֶׁ֣בַע שָׁנִ֑ים,” (And the life of Sarah was 100 years and 20 years and seven years).
One may ask why the Torah describes her years as 100 and 20 and seven, instead of simply saying she died at the age of 127. Rashi comments that the reason each number is separated is to show that every digit must be expounded on individually. When Sarah was 100 years old, she was sinless as if she was 20, since an adult of 20 is not susceptible to punishment for wrongdoing. The next value, 20, refers to her beauty. When she was 20, she was beautiful like a seven year old. Even at the age of 127 Sarah did not look old.
Additionally, one may wonder why this parsha is called חיי שרה if it discusses Sarah’s death.
During her lifetime, Sarah merited three miracles; her Shabbat candles were always lit, her challah dough always remained fresh, and a cloud of glory always rested above her tent. However, these miracles ceased after Sarah passed away. Later in the parsha, these miracles return when Yitzchak marries Rivkah. This demonstrates the theme of מדר לדר – from generation to generation. This shows that even when someone dies, their legacy lives on through others. The parsha is called the life of Sarah because her soul and legacies live on, despite the loss of her mortality. From this we see the idea of how the life of Sarah is appreciated in this week’s Parsha and how her legacy continued to live on in further generations.
By: Alexa Szafranski (9th)