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Living Twice
Finding Personal Meaning in Life and Death

What kind of name is "Chayei Sarah" (The Life of Sarah) for a Torah portion? If I see a book titled "Chayei Sarah," I would expect the book to be about Sarah's life. Surprisingly, what does the portion’s name, "Chayei Sarah," teach me? That Sarah died- it mentions her death, how she was buried and mourned. This is strange unless we understand that the sages meant to infer, by naming the portion with this name, that Sarah's real life begins precisely with her death.

This is hinted at through the uniqueness of the Hebrew language, which says, "And the life of Sarah was 7 and 10 and 100 years, the years (shnei in Hebrew) of the life of Sarah." There are two possible meanings to the Hebrew word ‘shnei’. It simply might mean, as translated above- the years of Sarah’s life. There is another possible meaning. The word ‘shnei’ in Hebrew also means two. Therefore, the verse could be understood as saying, ‘These are the two lives of Sarah.’ She has two lives - before her death and after her death. 

What is the significance of saying that she had a life (even) after her death? How does she attain a life after being buried in the ground? The simple understanding is that the so-called ‘second life’ refers to life in the world to come.

 However, a more profound thought is that thanks to Sarah's death, she now requires a plot of land for Abraham to bury her. To do so, our forefathers must purchase land in the Land of Israel. The moment he buys land in the Land of Israel, he is striking roots in the Land. By establishing roots, he begins to fulfill the covenant that God, the Creator, made with him and with his offspring to award him the land of Canaan. Thus, from here on, Israel's national life began.

A person might ask - should I start my life by buying a grave, which will eventually become necessary, or by purchasing an orchard or field? In an orchard or field, there is life!  But here is a crucial difference. With a field or an orchard, the right to use that place is conditional. Its purpose and value are realized when I work that land.  In contrast, the place where our forefathers are buried is a place where nothing is required from the occupier of the grave. The interred doesn't need to do anything, and therefore, that plot of land is an eternal inheritance. 

Our connection with the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron, where our forefathers and foremothers are buried, gives us an unconditional bond to live a whole life within the entire breadth of our land.

Vairāk nedēļas Toras nodaļu

Meklējot mieru
Jēkaba mesiāniskā tiekšanās

Jēkaba personīgā miera meklējumos, kas ir pretnostatīti Jāzepa sapņiem, stāstījums atklāj mūžīgu cīņu. Spriedze starp individuālo rāmumu un globālo pārmaiņu katalizatoru parādās kā galvenā tēma. Jāzeps paceļas ārpus ģimenes pretestības, viņa sapņi izgaismo ceļu uz globālu pasauli pilnu ar pārtiku un apgaismību. Šī senā sāga rosina pārdomas par mūžīgo jautājumu: vai ir jāupurē personīgais miers, lai panāktu pārveidojošu ietekmi?

Beyond Fear, The Evolution of Jacob into Israel
Unveiled the soul of the Hebrew identity.

Vayishlach delves into the evolution of Jewish identity, tracing Jacob's transformative journey towards becoming Israel. Departing from the previous portion, where Jacob goes into exile, this narrative centers on his return and the intricate process of identity transition. The text emphasizes the importance of grappling with political challenges as a prerequisite for embodying the identity of 'Israel,' who contends with God and men.

A crucial moment unfolds in Jacob's encounter with Esau, where fear takes a central role. Rashi's commentary sheds light on the dual nature of Jacob's fear—fearing potential harm to himself and the prospect of causing damage to others. This nuanced fear reflects the lingering influence of an exile's moral code, which hinders the ability to confront and defeat the enemy.

While Jacob still grapples with a real enemy in the incident of Shechem, his sons understand the necessary course of action for existence in the Land of Israel. The narrative concludes with Jacob returning to Bethel, having acquired the conviction required by the Jews of the Land of Israel—a level exemplified by one who knows how to fight to defend themselves and their Land.

Click here and take real steps in your life today to actively participate in the ongoing narrative of the Hebrew people, to ensure a better future for the world

Pirmdzimtā dzimšanas tiesību iegūšana

Toras daļa "Vajece" stāsta par Jēkaba simbolisko ceļojumu, kas atspoguļo Izraēlas tautas kolektīvo trimdu nākotnē. Morālo izaicinājumu un brāļa Ēsavu apsūdzību laikā Jēkabs pierāda savu morālo pārākumu. To atspoguļo četru pirmdzimto piedzimšanu, īpaši Rūbena piedzimšana, kurš kontrastē ar Ēsavu, aizsargājot savu jaunāko brāli. Stāsta lūzuma punkts ir četru pirmdzimto piedzimšana, kad uzsākas labošanas process un saskatāms kļūst kontrasts starp Ēsava rīcību un Jēkaba dēlu taisnīgo uzvedību. Mums nu ir skaidrs Jēkaba absolūtais pārākums pār Ēsavu. Jāzepa dzimšana kļūst par Jēkaba aiziešanas iemeslu, vadoties pēc izpratnes, ka bioloģisko pirmdzimto var aizstāt vairāk pelnījis jaunākais brālis, kas sasaucas ar plašāku tēmu par Īzāka tiesībām pār Ismaēlu un Jēkaba tiesībām pār Ēsavu.

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