Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chayei Sarah

              Eiyshet Chayil was the famous poem said in Sarah Emeynu’s eulogy by Avraham Avinu. The midrash goes through the entire chapter in Misheli (Proverbs), ascribing each verse to different attributes that Sarah Emeynu represented. “Darshah tzemer ufishtim..(she seeks out wool and linen)” was when Sarah Emeynu separated Yitzchak and Yishmael. Just like wool and linen are polar opposites, unable to be worn together, Sarah Emeynu knew that Yitzchak and Yishmael could not stay together. Sarah Emeynu separated good from bad by sending Yishmael away from her son Yitzchak. Yishmael acquired good and bad attributes. Yishmael, was also the son of Avraham who also had a brit mila at the age of thirteen so therefore there was good in Yishmael. However, there was plenty of evil within him as well. It is not easy to recognize this admixture in another person, and it was Sarah Emeynu who was able to do so. She had the wisdom and perception to see that the evil part of such a person will ultimately corrupt the good in him. When Sarah Emeynu took the intuitive to untangle good and evil she became the tikkun (correction) for Chava- Eve. Rivkah too, continued the tikkun by separating her sons Yaakov and Eisav. We learn from Sarah Emenynu that all women have this power of discernment.  The Torah teaches us, that women in general are more spiritually oriented and less affected by physical passions and drives. Throughout Jewish history, in Egypt, our Chachamim-Sages point out that it is the women who have been the guiding force in pushing towards the positive and steering away from the negative. That is their job: to separate, to detect the evil and the good. This is the nature of a woman, to the extent that the Sages say that a woman has deeper insights into a guest’s character- all the more so, Rabbi Feldman points out, into her husband’s character. That is why there should be openness between husband and wife in all aspects of life, both physical and spiritual; they should work together closely, because the wife has the ability to give her husband tremendous insight into himself. Avraham and Sarah together could rectify the sin of Adam and Chava. Chava introduced the good and evil into the world while Sarah separated between good and evil. Adam listened to Chava who gave him bad advice from eating from the tree, Avraham Avinu was told by Hashem "kol asher tomar eilecha Sarahh shema bekolah"- "everything Sarah will say to you- listen to her." Avraham, listened to Sarah and because of this he benefited of the development of his family. Rabbi Moshe Wolfson mentions that under the chuppah (marriage canopy) we mention Adam Harishon in the blessing "asher yatzar es ha'adam betzalmo" "who created man in His image" because every couple has the ability to rectify the sin of Adam and Chavah by following Avraham Avinu and Sarah Emeynus ways of partnership. We each possess the tools within us. By working together as one, each doing our own unique part, we can help to create a world where there is discernment between good and evil. (Shira Smiles, 2010)

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