Dear Friend,

This week’s Torah portion is titled “the life of Sarah,” after our matriarch, the wife of Abraham. Its first verse carefully enumerates the years of her life: “one hundred years, twenty years and seven years.”

Why this strange formulation?

The Zohar offers a fascinating insight. Too often we think that the purpose of our lives lies at some far-off point in the future. We may think that the present is transient, dispensable. Sometimes we worry that our moment will never come. In counting the years of Sarah’s life with such precision, the Torah is teaching us that each one of those years was a year of purposeful attainment and ascent.

“All of her life was ascent: one hundred years of ascent, twenty years of ascent, and seven years of ascent—all of them as fitting.” (Zohar 1:123a)

Later, quoting the verse “Abraham was old, coming in days,” the Zohar makes a similar remark: “Abraham did not become close to G‑d in one moment, or just one time. Rather, his good deeds brought him close every day.” (Ibid. 129a)

To live a good life is to live well every day.

Shabbat Shalom,

Eli Rubin,
on behalf of the Editorial Team