Chayei Sarah: Sanctifying the Value of Life

Chayei Sarah: Sanctifying the Value of Life

This Torah portion tells us how Abraham came to cry for Sarah and to mourn her. (Genesis 23:2) According to the Zohar, Sarah represents the body, and Abraham represents the soul. Abraham mourns for Sarah’s death. The soul also feels sorrow over the body’s death.

The soul has attained freedom. It has escaped from the physical limitations of a human vessel. But now it cannot be genuinely close to the Divine presence. Only with a body can a soul create life, help others, and turn the darkness of a chaotic world into light, with the Torah and the 7 Noahide laws.

Only in a bodily form can a soul follow the seven Noahide laws and accomplish its task in this world of deeds. The soul wants to remain in the body because only with the body, through the seven commandments, can it touch the essence of G‑d. That is the significance of every commandment made on Earth. In the future, body and soul will reunite again at the resurrection of the dead. Eternally.

Judaism is more focused on life in the present world than on the afterlife. It teaches that every moment of life is precious and that people should follow God’s commandments to live a righteous and meaningful life. This viewpoint is the opposite of those who have chosen to glorify chaos, death, and terror.

This narrative reminds us of the relationship between the soul and the body. While the soul seeks its connection with the Divine, it also relies on the earthly vessel to fulfill its mission of illumination and observance of the Seven Noahide Laws. In the time of redemption, G-d will terminate the evil and renew the world.

Source: Likutei Sichot, vol. 1

*This is from a series of articles by Rabbi Bernstein Moshe.

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