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    “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
    Sarah’s life…”
    (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
    whatever happens,
    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
    for cover.
    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,
    ballerina, 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
    added meaning.