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A Divine Death
tells us that when Sarah heard about the Akaida, her Neshama flew out from her
and she died. This is why the section of the Akaida and the death of Sarah are
next to each other. Sarah was on a level we can’t imagine. How is it possible
that when she heard about the Akaida which was the will of Hashem, she died? R’
Akiva who lived generations later said as he was being combed to death
that he was waiting for the moment to fulfill בכל נפשך,
to love Hashem with all your soul.
When Sarah heard about the
Akaida she died amidst that דביקות,
attachment to Hashem.
This is the meaning in ותמת שרה בקרית ארבע היא חברון (she died in Kiryas Arba
which is Chevron)—she died in Kiryas Arbah and חברון stems from the term חיבור, connection. She died with such attachment to Hashem.
Another allusion to this is in קרית ארבע—איגרא רמא בירא עמיקתא, high roof, low pit—as
she was on such a high level at the time of her death. The Chassam Sofer
translates the words of Avraham גר ותושב אנכי
עמכם:Avraham was saying the praise
of Sarah that she died because of her דביקות from the Simcha of the
news of the Akaida whereas I am left here as a גר ותושב and didn’t merit that.
When Sarah heard about the
Akaida, פרחה נשמתה, her Neshama flew out of her. A deeper explanation is that פרחה is from the word פרח, flower, to blossom.
Sarah wanted the type of son who would be totally dedicated to Hashem with
every limb of his body. When she heard that Yitzchak went to the Akaida, she
now felt her mission was complete—blossomed to its perfection—and consequently
The Parsha opens up ויהיו חיי שרה. The sum of ויהיו is 37. Yitzchak was 37
at the Akaida. ויהיו חיי שרה, these were the years of Sarah—the years
she truly lived since she raised such a son that at age 37 went to the Akaida.
Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’
Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from
R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for
various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a
suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is
passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.
Brachos 61b. The Sefer Amud Havoda (דרוש העבודה)
from R’ Baruch Kassover relates the following incredible story: A man was
killed על קידוש ה' in
a horrible manner (through inserting a piece of wood throughout his body in
which his intestines were punctured) after being accused of a blood libel. This
occurred on Friday. That entire week he fasted. Before he was killed, he was
singing שירות ותשבחות,
songs and praises with tremendous love. When he was asked if he feels any pain
he responded didn’t until he was just asked now. This was because his thoughts
were so connected with great love to Hashem and from the abundant happiness in
the delight of his soul that would soon be in Gan Eden. The cause of his death
was not through being killed rather it was through such attachment to Hashem as
he got so connected that he stayed there. However, to the non-Jews it appeared
that he was killed through the gruesome death (See Shir Hashirim Rabba 7:2.
Taamai Haminhagim, p. 163).
Sarah was on a level that we can’t even imagine. When
Avraham and Yitzchak went to the Akaida, they were so attached to Hashem. But
then the Pasuk says ונשובה אליכם, we will return (22:5). This
refers to after the Akaida (see Rashi), when Yitzchak wasn’t slaughtered. So,
this shows a certain detachment from the level of connection to Hashem. This is
in contrast to Sarah in that when she heard about the Akaida, she died amidst
that attachment to Hashem.
In the Beis Midrash of R’ Moshe Kobriner (1784-1858),
Chassidim fainted before the word נשמת due to their התלהבות,
passion and השתפכות הנפש, pouring out of their soul. Not
only that, but there were people that were appointed to awaken those who
fainted! (יהי אור, p.
Chassam Sofer on the Torah, Chayei Sarah, s.v. גר ותושב, תקפו.
As in Breishis 40:10, Rashi.
Here are some other interpretations: Rashi says when
she heard about the Akaida and Yitzchak almost died, her Neshama flew out of
her. Since she heard that he was almost slaughtered but wasn’t, she died as she
wanted him to be slaughtered. Another explanation is that since he wasn’t
slaughtered, she felt she would be the Korbon. Consequently, she then died.
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