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Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone

Rabbi Sari Laufer

Congregation Rodeph Sholom

November 7, 2015/

Parashat Chayei Sarah

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  1. (א) וַיִּהְיוּ֙ חַיֵּ֣י שָׂרָ֔ה מֵאָ֥ה שָׁנָ֛ה וְעֶשְׂרִ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה וְשֶׁ֣בַע שָׁנִ֑ים שְׁנֵ֖י חַיֵּ֥י שָׂרָֽה׃ (ב) וַתָּ֣מָת שָׂרָ֗ה בְּקִרְיַ֥ת אַרְבַּ֛ע הִ֥וא חֶבְר֖וֹן בְּאֶ֣רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן וַיָּבֹא֙ אַבְרָהָ֔ם לִסְפֹּ֥ד לְשָׂרָ֖ה וְלִבְכֹּתָֽהּ׃

    (1) And the life of Sarah was a hundred and seven and twenty years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. (2) And Sarah died in Kiriatharba—the same is Hebron—in the land of Canaan; and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.

  2.  

    (ב) שני חיי שרה. כלן שוין לטובה:

    (2) The years of the life of Sarah: All of them equally good.

  3. ברכות י״ז א:י״ז-י״ט
    ר' יוחנן כי הוה מסיים ספרא דאיוב אמר הכי סוף אדם למות וסוף בהמה לשחיטה והכל למיתה הם עומדים אשרי מי שגדל בתורה ועמלו בתורה ועושה נחת רוח ליוצרו וגדל בשם טוב ונפטר בשם טוב מן העולם ועליו אמר שלמה (קהלת ז, א) טוב שם משמן טוב ויום המות מיום הולדו.

    R. Johanan said : R. Meir, on concluding the reading of the Book of Job, used to say: It is the fate of man to die and of cattle to be slaughtered, and all are destined to die. Happy is he who has grown in Torah and whose labour has been in Torah ; who has caused tranquillity of spirit to his Creator, advanced in good repute, and departed from the world with a good name. Of him said Solomon, "A good name is better than precious oil, and the day of death than the day of one's birth " (Eccles. vii. 1).

  4. ברכות י״ח א:נ״ג
    (קהלת ט, ה) כי החיים יודעים שימותו אלו צדיקים שבמיתתן נקראו חיים שנאמר

    'For the living know that they shall die' (ibid.) — this refers to the righteous who are called living even in their death ; as it is said,

  5. ברכות י״ח ב:ו׳-ז׳
    והמתים אינם יודעים מאומה אלו רשעים שבחייהן קרויין מתים שנאמר (יחזקאל כא, ל) ואתה חלל רשע נשיא ישראל

    'But the dead know not anything' — this refers to the wicked who are called dead in their life-time; as it is said, 'And thou, O wicked one, thou art slain, the prince of Israel' (Ezek. xxi. 30)."

  6. (ב) לֹא־י֭וֹעִילוּ אוֹצְר֣וֹת רֶ֑שַׁע וּ֝צְדָקָ֗ה תַּצִּ֥יל מִמָּֽוֶת׃

    (2) Treasures of wickedness profit nothing; but righteousness delivereth from death.

  7. Rabbi Harold Schulweis:

     

    We are not to close our eyes to death. Nor are we to pretend that our grief, our mourning, our ache are all unreal. We have learned the price of such denial and evasion. The momentary relief it may bring us is followed by an overwhelming despair on the morrow. Pain, suffering, death are real. It must be confronted with emotional honesty. Beyond that, the vacuum left in the wake of our loss must be filled with a creative memory, with a remembrance which leads to activity. Death must be overcome by deeper living, fear by more courageous faith, remorse by stronger resolve.

     

    We Jews believe in an immortality of influence. We believe that no gesture of goodness is swallowed up into oblivion. There is a conservation of moral energy wherein the quality of goodness expressed in the lives of those we remember is transformed into our own attitudes and behavior towards life. The past is not over. It flows into the present towards the dreams of the future.

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