Chayei Sarah

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The life of Sarah
One hundred years, twenty years
Seven years, her life

The first verse of this week’s portion, according to many (most?) translations, is ” Sarah’s lifetime, the span of Sarah’s life, came to one hundred and twenty-seven years.” But a more accurate translation of the Hebrew would be “Now Sarah’s life was one hundred years and twenty years and seven years, the years of Sarah’s life.”

Because there are no unnecessary words in Torah, the commentators wondered why the text doesn’t just say “Sarah’s life was one hundred and twenty-seven years.”

I like the Midrash (quoted by Rashi) which says the extra words in Torah teach that at 100 years of age Sarah was as innocent as at 20 years, and at 20 years she was as beautiful at 7 years. Although I agree with Rabbi Aron Tendler who suggests the ages seem reversed. Shouldn’t innocence be associated with the younger age and beauty with maturity?

A video drash by Rabbi David Fohrman expands on this idea to teach about different stages of life and how we can strive to have a successful life by not leaving the earlier stages behind.

 

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