Thursday, November 8, 2012

Accepting the good with the bad

Parshas Chayai Sarah

This week’s parsha, Chayai Sara, begins with Sara’s death. After Avraham returned from Mount Moriah, excited to tell Sara the amazing news, that Yitzkak was not sacrificed and he was saved by Hashem, Avraham instead found out that Sara had died.

Depsite Avraham’s loss, he did not complain to Hashem once! Rather, he went out to buy a plot for Sara.

To me, this is the most remarkable character trait seen in Avraham! Despite the fact that he almost lost his son, now, he actually lost his wife, still, he did not complain! His bitachon- truth in Hashem- was so strong! Avraham was able to see that everything that happens in life is G-d’s will.

Moreover, what happened to Sara in Avraham’s absence?

When the Satan failed to achieve victory over Avraham and Yitzkak during their journey to Mount Moriah (the Satan was attempting to get them to rebel against Hashem), the Satan decided to trick Sara.

He asked her, “Where is Yitzkak?”

Sara responded, “He went with his father to learn the laws of sacrifices.”

The Satan responded, “That is not true! Yitzkak is the sacrifice!”

When Sara heard this, she went to the three giants who lived at that time and requested that they look into the distance as far as they could to see if what the Satan said was true. Low and behold, the giants said they saw Avraham on Mount Moriah holding a knife over Yitzkak. When Sara heard this, she screamed six times and her soul left her body (now, on Rosh Hashanah we blow the shofar six times—the six uninterrupted tekiyos) .

How could is be that Sara and Avraham, who dedicated their lives to Hashem befall such tragic events? Their sole purpose of their lives was serving Hashem, so how could this happen to them? Unfortunately, we cannot understand how Hashem thinks and why He does what He does, in His infinite wisdom.

 However, the Midrash teaches us that when the Angel of Death came to take Sara, he could not take her, because her mind was constantly dwelling on the shechina—Hashem’s divine presence. Her entire life was about being conscious of Hashem’s existence. For the one moment that she diverted her thoughts, when she though Yitzkak was being sacrificed, the Angel of Death took her soul.

Of course Sara Emanu was on a higher spiritual plain than we can understand, she was a prophetess and spoke directly to Hashem. Nonetheless, we should look at her as an example and strive to emulate her.  All the 127 years she lived were righteous. Everything Hashem had bestowed upon her, good or bad, she accepted with happiness. Her entire being was in the service of Hashem! This should shed light onto us, just as Sara Emanu always meditated on G-d’s glory, how much more should we! For a split moment that Sara was distracted, her life was taken! How many times a day do we forget Hashem?! How many times a day do we stray from following Hashem’s ways because we get lazy or feel uninspired?
Our relationship to Hashem should be eternal, just as He is. We should not only praise Hashem for the goodness He bestows upon us, but rather, everything He does is for the ultimate good! We must strive to accept the good with the bad, because it is all from Hashem. Once we develop constant G-d consciousness, we will be able to see Hashem’s hand in our lives everyday, whether goodness prevails or tragedy strikes.

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