Chayei Sarah: The Admission Test

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This week’s lesson is dedicated in honor of the weekly Torah Class at Ft. Huachuca and in honor of the Upshernish of Mendel Shemtov, Sierra Vista, AZ

Every new bride goes through an ‘admission test’ in her new family. In Abraham’s family, there was a very high bar. Rebecca was accepted into the family only when she managed to bring several miracles into her home: A Cloud of Glory, a growing dough, and a candle that wouldn’t go out. What do those miracles represent?

Lesson Contents:

A. Personal Efforts

In the first verse of this week’s Torah portion, we read the sum total of Sarah’s years. As Rashi explains, the strange terminology teaches us that all high years were equally good (Sources 1-2).

As the Rebbe explains, what lesson can we learn? What exactly was the goodness of her life? There were three specific blessings that rested on her tent — a blessed dough, a cloud on her tent, and an eternal flame — which are the subject of this week’s discussion.

In source 3-4, we read about the second generation of the Matriarchs. What exactly did Isaac see in Rebecca that comforted him over the death of his mother? It was the same three miracles.

The Rebbe explains the meaning behind each of the three miracles. Essentially, they represent the three aspects of Abraham and Sarah’s work to spread the name of G-d. In each case, after Sarah invested all the effort she could possibly invest, G-d comes along and gives it an extra blessing.

B. The Inner Layer

In the next section, the Rebbe explains the person meaning of each element.
What does dough, light and clouds represent in our personal service of G-d? What lesson can we learn from our Matriarch?

Dough represents our service of G-d which stems from an intellectual place. The cloud represents the effort to rise above the limitations of our intellect. And the light — Chassidism — is what guides the whole process.

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