This week’s portion, Chayei Sara, begins, “Sara’s lifetime was 127 years, the years of Sara’s life.”
What do the words “the years of Sarah’s life” add?
Also, why does the Torah tell us how long Sara lived? After all, the Torah doesn’t mention the lifespan of the other matriarchs!
The Zohar comments that because Sara went down to and came up from Egypt, she merited to have an exalted state of living. This high spiritual state was a “gift” from Above. The Zohar further comments that “her life was hers,” meaning that she was master over every aspect of her life, and even more, not only did she received the gift of an exalted state of living, but she internalized it, and mastered that as well.
The Rebbe Rashab (the fifth Rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi Shalom Dovber) explains the words of the Zohar, that the first part of the verse, “Sara’s lifetime was 127 years,” means that she merited to have an exalted state of living, and the second half of the verse, “the years of Sara’s life,” comes to teach us that her life was hers.
Not only do we learn this lesson from Sara, but because she was at such a high level, and she was able to internalized it, and take ownership of every aspect of her life, it means that we could as well. Because Sarah is our mother, and it is in our genes to be like her. Therefore, we have the ability to have all our years equally good and that our lives be ours, just like her.
You might think, “I am not holy enough or special enough to be the master over every aspect of my life.” It is a mistake to think this way, as every Jew is holy and special, and every Jew can correct whatever in the past is standing in the way of “owning” his or her years. It is not the easy route, it will take work. But when you begin to understand that you can master your life, your love for G-d will start to grow and will lead you to do the necessary work out of love.
If you follow these steps, you will begin to see Judaism differently. Rather than feeling Judaism is a responsibility, you will begin to have a passion for it and do it with joy. And joy is the key to breaking all boundaries and reaching the greatest heights. You will become the master over your life, past, present and future, just like Sara our mother.
May our efforts to get closer to G-d, bring us to “serve G-d with joy.” This joy will break all boundaries, especially the constraints of this dark and long exile, and usher in the coming of Moshiach. The time has come. Moshiach NOW!!!