This week’s parsha starts off with the death of Sarah. Why, then, is the name of the parsha Chayei Sarah? Doesn’t that mean “The Life of Sarah?”
Although Sarah accomplished a huge amount in her lifetime, touching tens of thousands of lives according to the Rambam, what most motivated her was that Yitzchak should become a brilliant tzadik. Even though this parsha recalls Sarah's burial and death, it also honors her life by showing how Yitzchak achieved her goals. So despite the fact that Sarah had passed away, her son Yitzchak was able to carry her torch and continue her mission. Yitzchak's life was an extension of "Chayei Sarah."
As an added point, we know that Sarah died at an old age, but do we know why?
It is actually shown that Sarah was meant to die for quite some time. However, due to the fact that she constantly kept herself surrounded with thoughts and desires to keep the Torah and connect to Hashem, the angel of death couldn’t reach her. The Torah she was so infused with created a barrier around her, protecting her from death's way.
Sarah was always thinking of Torah, except for one moment—the moment she found out her son was going to be used as a korban. When Sarah found out Yitzchak was fulfilling her dream and goal, she stopped thinking about Torah for a split second. She started to think about how proud she was of her son and just how holy he must be to be the one chosen as a korban for Hashem.
In those few moments that she wasn’t thinking about the Torah, the angel of death was able to get to her. Once she passed, Yitzchak continued to be the amazing scholar that she merited from. Because of how much Yitzchack impacted Sarah, her legacy lives on inside him.
This parsha is called Chayei Sarah because the life of Sarah is being reborn into something else once she dies. Sarah’s impact forever stayed with Yitzchak, who continued to pass it down to his kids. Everyone has a little bit of Sarah Emunah inside of them—we just need to tap into it. Everyone has the potential to influence others. Just like Sarah positively impacted Yitzchak, we can positively impact the world through the Torah and Sarah’s beliefs.
By: Emilie Bensousan (9th) & Emma Attias (9th)