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LeChaim

By Washington Post · Devlin Barrett, Mark Berman, Matt Zapotosky

Posted on 10/30/18

In Bereishis, Perek Chof Gimmel, posuk alef it says that Sarah lived one hundred years and twenty years and seven years. Subsequently, the posuk summarizes and says, “Shnei chayei Sarah.” This appears to be a repetition of the beginning of the posuk.


I saw a beautiful pshat in the Haamek Davar from the Netziv. He explains that the word “chaim” has two connotations. One is life, the opposite of death. The other meaning is how we describe a person who is full of life, happiness and vigor, the opposite of being depressed. This is what the posuk in Devarim, Perek Daled, posuk daledis telling us when it states, “Vaatem hadeveikim... chaim kulchem hayom.” If you cleave to Hashem and do the mitzvos of the Torah you will merit living today. This means that when a person lives with simcha he is truly living today.


We find in the midrash that Avraham was a tafel to Sarah when it came to nevius (prophecy), therefore Hashem commanded Avraham in Parshas Vayeira that he should listen to whatever Sarah tells him. How is it possible that Avraham could be considered inferior to Sarah in nevius (prophecy) when Hashem spoke to him many times and Hashem only spoke to Sarah once when Hashem rebuked her?


To answer this question we have to understand that there are two separate aspects when it comes to connecting with Hashem. There is Ruach HaKodesh and there is neviusRuach HaKodesh is when a person meditates and via his thoughts and vision he brings upon himself the ruach of Kodesh and thereby knows what Hashem wants him to do. Ruach HaKodesh does not involve speaking with HashemNevius is when Hashem comes and talks to the person, whether it is in a dream or when the person is up, and the person thereby hears the ratzon of Hashem kivayacholDavid Hamelech was zocheh to both Ruach haKodesh and nevius.


Avraham was greater than Sarah when it came to prophecy; however, Sarah was greater than Avraham when it came to Ruach HaKodesh. The reason for this is that since Avraham was a leader in his generation and was constantly getting people to do teshuva and to become religious, he did not have the luxury of being able to spend the time meditating in order to get ruach haKodeshSarah, who was a tzanua and stayed in the tent, had the time to receive Ruach HaKodesh and was able to get divine inspiration. This is based on the Chasam Sofers writings in his hakdama to the teshuvos of Yoreh Deah. An additional reason explaining why Sarah was superior to Avraham in Ruach HaKodesh is because one must be in a state of simcha of a mitzvah in order for one to have Ruach HaKodeshSarah, who had great emunah and bitachon, was able to lead a happy life thereby prompting Chazal to say “kulan shavin letova” (all her years were equally good). Sarah was therefore able to excel in the inyan of Ruach HaKodesh.


With this we can understand when the posuk says, “Shnei chayei Sarah” that the word “shnei” means the number two. Sarah had a double dosage of life; the fact that she was alive and the fact that she was living a life full of life simcha, thereby gaining Ruach HaKodesh and having bitachon in Hashem.


Let us hope that we all work on ourselves not just to live, but to live and be happy.


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