Parshat Chayei Sarah 5778: Was Sarah Imeinu Niferet on the Day of Her Birth?

Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua Chayei Sarah is being sponsored by David and Malka Blass and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated for Refuah Shlaima for the Cholim of the community. To the Blass family, many thanks for your sponsorship and your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3


Parshat Chayei Sarah 5778: Was Sarah Imeinu Niferet on the Day of Her Birth?

by Moshe Burt

Yet again, as in previous vorts on Parshat Sarah, this author discusses our Parsha’s opening posuk regarding Sarah Imeinu’s age upon her passing [Nifteret]:

“Sarah’s lifetime was one hundred years, twenty years, and seven years: the years of Sarah’s life.” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 23, posuk 1)

One of the off-shoots for this author, resulting from learning Gemara Tractate Rosh Hashana, is added focus and attention given to years of life and in what year of life one is in the midst of, i.e. this author’s Dad was “ninety-eight years” at the time of his passing — 9 Adar, 5777, yet one can say that he was in his ninety-ninth year as his birthdate was 16 Tammuz, 5678.

Referring back to the vort on Parshat No’ach where this author cited (as rendered to English in the Sapirstein Edition, “The Torah: With Rashi’s Commentary”), Sefer Breish’t, Perek 8, posuk 13 portrays the Earth having dried after the Mabul (the Great Flood):

“And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the waters had dried from upon the earth; …”

Tractate Rosh Hashana, Daf Yud [ten], Amud Bet [second side of the Daf) (as rendered to English in the Schottenstein Edition Talmud Bavli: The Gemara] renders Sefer Breish’t, Perek 8, posuk 13:

“And it was at one and six hundred years, in the first [month], on the first of the month, the waters had dried from upon the earth…”

Relating these two previous citings back to Sarah Imeinu’s age upon her death, the sefer “The Jewish Time Line Encyclopedia, by Mattis Kantor relates that Sarah was born in the year 1958 from creation and passed in the year 2084, equaling one hundred and twenty-six years. But, the sefer goes on to say (page 17):

Yitzchak was 36, or 37 depending on the day in Nissan that the Akeida took place….

Sarah heard that Avraham hand taken Yitzchak to offer him as a sacrifice [korban], and she traveled to search for them. When she reached Hevron, she was informed that he had not been sacrificed. The good news was too overwhelming for her, and she died. (citing Breish’t, Perek 23, posukim 1-2, Rashi/Mid.Rab.Br.58.5, Vay. 20.2/Sed. Had.)

This latter account of Sarah’s passing was similar to one this author heard from a tour guide during his first trip to Israel some forty-three years ago.

Yishai Chasidah, in his sefer “Encyclopedia of Biblical Personalities” offers a different read on Sarah’s passing (page 525 citing Targum Yonatan on Breish’t perek 22, posuk 20):

After Avraham bound his son Isaac [on the altar], the Satan came and told Sarah that Avraham had slaughtered his son Isaac. She cried out in grief and died.

Although this vort has seemingly strayed from the main question of the title: Was Sarah Imeinu Niferet on the Day of Her Birth?, this author did so to pick up some salient pieces of information, i.e. The Akeida took place in Nissan, as apparently Sarah’s passing did. Kantor’s dating of Yitzchak’s age is subject to what the exact dating was. Therefore, we could wonder whether or not Sarah passed on the exact date of the Akeida.

Nowhere in Torah, or in any sefer seen by this author, does the accounting of Sarah’s years indicate exact day or exact month of the year in which she passed, as is stated in the account in No’ach — the exact month and day on which “the waters had dried from upon the earth.”

But we learn that both the Akeida and, apparently, Sarah’s passing occurred in the month of Nissan. The question to ponder, and point of the above title: did Sarah, a Tzaddeket, one of our Imot (one of our Matriarchs) pass on her one-hundredth and twenty-seventh birthday — a full one-hundred and twenty-seven years? Or did she pass sometime in her one-hundredth and twenty-seventh year, or even after her one-hundredth and twenty-seventh birthday?

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them and that the expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, at government expense; both due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. May our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of three years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

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