26 Oct SHABBOS IS IN THE AIR: IT’S ALL GOOD!
“Vayehiyu chayei Sarah meah
shanah, v’esrim shanah, v’shevah
shonim, sh’nei chayei Sarah —
Sarah’s lifetime was 100 years, 20
years, and 7 years…. the years of
(Genesis, Bereishis 23:1)
This week’s parshah, opens with
the passing of Sarah Imeinu.
Though the Torah is telling us
about Sarah’s death, it uses the
term “life”. Even the name of the
parshah is “Chayei Sarah, The
Life of Sarah.”
“… the years of Sarah’s life”.
Rashi comments that the word
“years” is repeated to tell us “Kulon shovin l’tovah – They were all
equal in goodness”.
Equal in goodness? We know that
Sarah experienced many hardships, many difficult days, during
her lifetime. How could they all
have been equally good?
For many years, Sarah ached for a
child, to be a mother, yet the
blessing of a baby eluded her.
When she was finally blessed
with Yitzchak, her one-and-only
beloved son, her pride and joy,
her nachas, he became the target
of his half-brother Yishmael’s
bullying. How painful for a mother to see.
Sarah was abducted twice, one by
Pharaoh and then by King Avimelech of Gerar.
Can all of this be considered
l’tovah, for the good?
I look at Sarah’s life and marvel.
What strong belief, what an amazing attitude! “Kulon shovin
l’tovah.” For Sarah, every day
was a good day. We know that
Sarah did not live in La-La Land,
oblivious to what was transpiring
all around her. On the contrary,
she was very aware. She had a
special neshamah that was filled
with emunah and bitachon, with
faith and trust. Bitachon, a trust in
HaShem so strong, that she was
able to truly feel that all is l’tovah.
Not only did Sarah believe that it
will work out – she trusted that all
was l’tovah, for the good. Sarah
felt HaShem’s presence with her,
every step of the
way. She didn’t despair and fall apart,
but understood that
HaShem is in
The Midrash teaches us that Avrohom’s hesped for Sarah was the
Eishes Chayil song that is sung
every Friday night. “Lo yichbeh
balailah neirah, her light isn’t extinguished at night.” (Mishlei/
Proverbs 31:18). Even during
times of darkness, difficulty and
confusion, Sarah’s “light” of
deep-felt emunah continued burning within her.
“Gam zu l’tovah – This, too, is for
the good.” If we allow this message to penetrate our hearts and
souls, much of the stress, anxiety
and tension in our lives will dissipate. The next time something
doesn’t work out exactly as
planned, say – and truly believe –
“Gam zu l’tovah – This, too, is for
the good.” Remember Sarah’s life
lesson, “kulon shovin l’tovah,
they are all equally good”.
I heard a story about a couple
who were exploring the Meah
Shearim neighborhood of
Yerushalayim, when the skies
suddenly opened up and rain
descended upon them. They
looked around as to where to
run for shelter, when they
heard a voice calling out to
them. They looked up to see
an open window, with a
woman beckoning to them to
come up into her apartment
Happy to escape the rain, and
eager to meet a genuine
Yerushalmi family, they gladly accepted. They noticed the
simplicity of the apartment,
and after a few minutes heard
the pitter-patter of raindrops
indoors. Their host’s reaction
was one that they will always
remember. Rather than being
distressed by the leak, she
called out, “Gishmei berachah, gishmei berachah,” rain
of blessing, rain of blessing.
A simple story, with a powerful message.
As Sarah Imeinu before her,
this Yerushalmi woman was
able to live her life “l’tovah”,
to see the good in everything.
She didn’t see it as a leak, but as
gishmei berachah, rain of blessing.
L’tovah. To view whatever transpires in our personal lives, or to
those around us, is for the best. To
know that everything that happens is orchestrated by HaShem,
down to the smallest detail, and
the slightest nuance. To believe
that it is all l’tovah.
My mother, the Rebbetzin was
speaking in California, when she
fell and broke her hip. It required
a difficult and complicated surgery.
Following intense physical therapy sessions, the therapist suggested that my mother attempt to walk
down the hospital corridor.
My mother was loved by all the
nurses, and they gathered to cheer
her on. One of the nurses called
out, “Our ballerina!”
“Ballerina?” Some ballerina, my
mother thought to herself. “With a
walker and a turban on my head.
What kind of ballerina looks like
But something touched her. It
must be a message. My mother
repeated to herself: “Ballerina,
And then she realized how similar
it sounded to the Hebrew words,
“Ba’al rinah, ba’al rinah, to be a
master of one’s joy.” To be happy,
even during times of challenge.
To understand that while we can’t
change our life’s circumstances,
we can control our reactions to
With a smile on her face, and the
nurses cheering her on, my mother took her steps and made it
down the hallway – being a ba’al
rinah. As she had done throughout
her life, my mother fortified herself to see every challenge
“l’tovah”, and smile through the
most difficult circumstances.
As we read about the life of Sarah
Imeinu, let’s internalize this message, and our lives will surely be
happier, more fulfilling, and have