Saturday, November 15, 2008

Doreish Tov on Medrash Rabbah Parashas Chaye Sara 5769 (1)

Doreish Tov on Medrash Rabbah
Parashas Chaye Sara 5769


The Medrash

The Medrash states that it is said (Bereishis 23:1) vayihyu chaye Sara meah shanah, Sara’s lifetime was one hundred years... this is what is said (Tehillim 37:18) yodeia Hashem yimei temimim vinachalasam liolam tihyeh, HaShem knows the days of the perfect, their inheritance will be forever. Just like the righteous are perfect, so too their years are perfect. Sara at twenty years old was as beautiful as she was when she was seven years old. Furthermore, Sara at one hundred years old was like she was at twenty years old regarding sin. Alternatively, the words yodeia Hashem yimei temimim refers to Sara who was perfect in her deeds. Rabbi Yochanan said that Sara was like a perfect calf. The words vinachalasam liolam tihyeh, is as it is said vayihyu chaye Sara. What is the necessity to state the words shinei chaye Sara, the years of Sara’s life, at the end of the verse? This teaches us that HaShem cherishes the years of the righteous in this world and in the World to Come.

Question on the Medrash

What is the lesson that the Medrash is teaching us? What does it mean that the years of the righteous are perfect? Is it not sufficient to say that Sara was perfect in her lifetime? Furthermore, why does the Medrash state that Sara was like a perfect calf? How does this analogy relate to Sara?

The deeper intention of the Medrash

We know that the purpose of every second of life is to come to a greater recognition of HaShem and His greatness. One accomplishes this by studying Torah and performing mitzvos. One must wonder, then, how anyone can reach a level of perfection, if every day is a new challenge in serving HaShem. The Medrash here provides the answer to this question. When one accounts properly for his “years,” i.e. the time that he spends in this world, then he is considered to have reached a level of perfection. This can be compared to a perfect calf. Although a calf will grow up to be a cow, the calf in its present stage is deemed to be perfect because its growth process is potentially perfect. Similarly, the righteous person who uses his time correctly when he is young is potentially perfect. Thus, Sara at every stage of her life was potentially perfect, and she completed her life in a state of perfection.

The lesson of the Medrash

The goal of life is to reach a state of perfection, but we must realize that every second of life is an experience in potential perfection. When one stumbles in his service of HaShem, he can still rise back up and continue in his potentially perfect service of HaShem. It is for this reason that it is said (Yeshaya 60:21) viameich kulam tzaddikim, your people will all be righteous. How is it possible that every Jew is righteous, if every Jew sins at some point in his life? The answer is that we are all potentially prefect and righteous, and our misdeeds do not prevent us from becoming perfect and righteous.

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