The parshah starts with the passing away of Sarah and her burial. Why then is the parshah called “Chayei Sarah” — “The life of Sarah” — and not “Mitat Sarah” — “The death of Sarah”?

The notion that the name of the parshah is the first significant word of the parshah is inaccurate. For instance, the second parshah of the Torah is named Noachand the sixth parshah is called Toldot. Parshat Noach starts with the words “eilah toldot Noach” — “These are the offspring of Noach.” Parshat Toldot starts with the words, “eilah toldot Yitzchak ben Avraham — “These are the offspring of Yitzchak son of Avraham.” If the theory is correct, then the second parshah of Chumash Bereishit should be titled “Toldot,” which is the second word of the opening pasuk, and the sixth called “Yitzchak,” which is the word immediately following the word “toldot.

The Rebbe explains that the name of the parshah is not arbitrary, but a one-word description of the essence and primary concepts discussed therein. Thus, in the second parshah, though “Noach” is the third word, it is the name of the parshah because the entire parshah revolves primarily around the life of Noah. The sixth parshah is named “Toldot” because the entire parshah discusses Yaakov and Eisav, who were the “toldot” — “offspring” — of Yitzchak son of Avraham.

“Chayei Sarah” — “The life of Sarah” — was focused on one goal and ideal, that Yitzchak should reach spiritual greatness. Our parshah discusses the life of Yitzchak, who was the realization of Sarah’s spiritual dream. Although in this parshah we read of her demise and burial, through Yitzchak her ideals were fulfilled. Although physically Sarah was no longer here, she continued to live on through her son Yitzchak. In actuality “Chayei Sarah” was the righteous life of Yitzchak.

We are currently experiencing a phenomena that, unfortunately, in many families there are horror stories of children going astray. They were fine students and even made the honor roll in their respective schools and now they have forsaken it all. The parents are heartbroken and disillusioned. To these parents life has become a nightmare. Yes they are physically surviving, but to call that living would be an inaccurate description.

Sarah lived — her life was her son Yitzchok, and he enriched and enhanced her well being. Thanks to him, she felt her life had a lofty spiritual purpose

My dear Bar Mitzvah, I am sure you love your parents dearly. You would do anything and everything for them. The best way you can express your love and gratitude to your parents is to make their lives happier and contentful. This is by making sure that they continuously see from you much Yiddish and Chassidish nachas begashmiut u’beruchniut — materially and spiritually.


In the Torah there are no superfluous or unnecessary words or letters. Even when at times a word is spelled, for example, with an added vav or yud and at other times without, the variant spellings are studied and analyzed. When words in the Torah have dots above them, our Sages give a reason and derive a message.

This week’s parshah deals at length with a non-Jewish servant, Eliezer, who was appointed by Avraham to be a shadchan — matchmaker — for his son Yitzchak. The episode and thoughts he encountered and his conversation when he met Rivkah at the well are recorded at great length. Afterwards, when Eliezer speaks to Rivka’s family, he recounts everything again in full detail.

As a justification, Rashi (24:42) quotes a Midrash in which the Amora Rabbi Achai says, “Yafeh sichatan shel avdei batei avot lifnei ha’Makom miToratan shel banin” — “The conversations of the servants of the Patriarchs is more pleasing before Hashem then the Torah of the children.” Rashi explains that “the episode of Eliezer’s quest for a wife for Yitzchak is doubled in the Torah, (the story is told as it happens and then repeated when Eliezer relates it to Rivka’s family) while many essential elements and fundamental laws of the Torah were given only by allusion” (derived from a single superfluous letter).

Though Eliezer’s involvement was with marriage, and today we are at a Bar Mitzvah — I believe one of Eliezer’s statements could be a cardinal lesson to everyone and particularly for you, my dear Bar Mitzvah, as you are embarking on your mission of Torah manhood.

Upon arriving at Rivkah’s father’s home and being offered food, Eliezer told them that before eating anything, he needed to say a few words. He declared “Eved Avraham anochi — “I am the servant of Avraham” (24:34) What was the significance of this seemingly non-eloquent statement?

Firstly, Eliezer was imparting to them that though he gained Avraham’s full trust and was “moshel bechol asher lo” — “he controlled all that was his [master’s]” (24:2), he did not do things on his own. He was totally subjugated to his master — Avraham — and he followed his guidance and instructions.

In these few words he also described for them who his master — Avraham — was, and what he represented. By saying “eved Avraham anochi” — he was telling them that his master Avraham was an eved, a servant, to “Anochi” — “Hashem” — (alluding to Hashem’s description of Himself in His opening words to the Ten Commandments “Anochi” –“I am,” etc. — Shemot 20:2). His Torah and His mitzvot, were the essence of Avraham’s life and wellbeing, and his goal was to propagate and inculcate the masses of his generation with the recognition and comprehension that there is an Omnipresent Supreme Power — Anochi — Hashem. In other words “eved Avraham Anochi” means that Avraham was dedicated to disseminating the concept of “Anochi [Hashem Elokecha]” — “I am Hashem your G‑d” and propagating His commandments.

My dear Bar Mitzvah, you are now becoming a gadol — a mature member of Klal Yisroel. Hopefully, throughout your life you will heed and always remember Eliezer’s words. “Eved Avraham Anochi” — we Jews have a Torah and leaders and it is to it and to them that we are subservient.

As Lubavitcher Chassidim, we see in these words an added significance. Remember, we have the Rebbe, who is the Avraham Avinu of our generation, and it is to him and his teachings that we should listen and his directives should be our guide in life.

In addition, my dear Bar Mitzvah, you have our heartfelt berachot that you will merit to grow up to be a member of the Rebbe’s army, to be a dedicated emissary, to inspire and encourage the world to realize that Anochi — Al‑mighty G‑d — is the Master of the world. Thus, you will assist in speeding up the coming of Mashiach, in whose days the prophet Zephaniah prophesied (3:9) that the nations of the world will “all proclaim the Name of Hashem — l’ovdo sh’chem echad — to worship Him with a united resolve” — speedily in our days.