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    While this week’s parsha, Chayei Sara, tells
    us of the death of Sara Imeinu, it opens with
    the words “Chayei Sara, the life of Sara”.
    Why the “life of” when speaking of Sara’s
    death. The Torah is teaching us that Sara lives
    on, in us and through us. We are carriers of
    her spiritual DNA, an internal spark of
    kedusha, a gene of emunah and bitachon,
    faith and trust, the keys to our survival.
    Not only are Sara’s genes within us, but her
    zechusim, her merits, are with us, giving us
    protection and strength during challenging
    Generations after Sara’s passing, Rabbi Akiva
    was in the midst of teaching his students,
    when he noticed their faces falling, their
    eyelids drooping, as if they were dozing off.
    Wanting to get their attention, and wake them
    up with a bang, Rabbi Akiva, in a loud clear
    voice, called out a pasuk from this week’s
    parsha, “These were the years of Sara’s life,
    Sara lived a hundred years, twenty years, and
    seven years.” (Bereishis 23:1)
    Rabbi Akiva then mentioned that Esther

    HaMalkah ruled over 127 provinces in the
    Persian Empire, all in Sara’s merit. What
    lesson was Rabbi Akiva trying to convey?
    Why choose this pasuk to gain his students’
    attention? How were the years of Sara’s life
    and the lands that Esther ruled a wake-up
    leader of his generation, a master teacher with
    many, many students, each one a great rabbi
    in his own right. How can it be that their eyes
    were closing while listening to Rabbi Akiva?
    Rabbi Akiva understood that their faces were
    falling, their eyes closing, not from a lack of
    sleep or a case of boredom, but from an
    intense pain their heart. A pain so strong, so
    powerful, that they became distressed and
    despondent. They were living under
    tyrannical Roman rule, their lives were
    to close with sadness and hopelessness. What
    will be, what will be, they worried.
    Rabbi Akiva realized that he had to jolt them
    out of their anguish. To give them an infusion
    of tikva, of hope for the future. He told them
    of Sara’s 127 years… of Esther’s 127 lands. It
    was no coincidence, but Sara’s meritsspanned

    the generations, and were
    with Esther, protecting her
    in the palace of
    Achashverosh. It was
    Sara’s spiritual genes that
    gave Esther the inner
    strength to not only
    persevere, but to stand up
    for her people.
    Through this message,
    Rabbi Akiva was
    passionately telling his
    students that they were not
    alone, but are all links in
    the shalsheles, the chain of our people. From
    generation to generation, the merits of our
    ancestors are with us.
    Chayei Sara. The life of Sara. Even from a
    lofty place above, Sara is with us.
    We are living in frightening times. Terrible
    atrocities have been committed against our
    people. Atrocities that did not end on October
    7, but have launched a worldwide war of
    antisemitism. The shouts of “From the River
    to the Sea” are more than just a call for the
    elimination of the State of Israel, but for the
    annihilation of the Jewish people.
    At times we may feel like the students of
    RabbiAkiva. We may have moments where
    our eyes are closing, our heads falling, and
    we too, may be asking, what will be, what
    will be. We must be reminded of Chayei
    Sara, the life of Sara. So many holy
    neshamos that are caring for us, and
    pleading to HaShem on our behalf.
    HaShem gave the entire Jewish world a
    massive jolt. A traumatic wake-up call. The
    tragic loss of 1,400 precious Jewish
    neshamos has awakened our people in
    ways never seen before. People are
    davening more, learning more, doing more
    chesed, and giving more tzedaka. And so
    many who have been disconnected from
    Jewish life have experienced a new energy,
    a new pride in being Jewish, and a yearning
    of wanting to identify with their Jewish
    As Sara’s memory lives on, so too, we have
    an obligation to remember the lives we
    have lost. The 1,400 brutally murdered, the
    hundreds of brave IDF soldiers who gave
    and the entire Jewish nation.
    In the Jewish Soul on Fire, my mother
    wrote of not forgetting the six million lives
    lost in the Holocaust. Have we not
    experienced a terrible loss of lives in our
    own time? A loss of such great magnitude
    that hasn’t been seen since the Holocaust.
    “After the Holocaust, we, the survivors

    (and in a sense we are all survivors) have a
    sacred mission to live our lives in such a way
    that through us, those who perished would
    believes in memorials of stone. Ours is the
    awesome task of raising sons and daughters
    who, imbued with faith, will become living
    memorials for those who are no more.
    We must kindle the Shabbos lights, not only
    for ourselves, but for the millions of mothers
    who are no longer able to do so. We must
    study the Torah, not only for ourselves, but
    cut down in their youth, before they could
    We must pronounce prayers, not only for
    ourselves, but for the beautiful little children
    G-d’s name and pronounced a blessing. In the
    end, that is the only meaningful memoriam
    that we can offer a nation that chose to walk
    My mother addressed students of Bronx High
    School of Science at a Holocaust
    Remembrance Day program. Her words left
    the students in tears. Many of them wanting
    to ask questions. A young girl asked, “With
    all that suffering, how did you manage to
    keep your faith?”
    My mother pondered the question for a
    moment. She responded that it never occurred
    to her that there was something special about
    keeping her faith. “How could I not keep my
    faith. It is only faith in G-d that kept us sane
    in those days of darkness. It is only because
    of G-d that we, the Jewish people, have
    survived, because had man had his way, the
    Jews would have all perished.”
    My mother’s answer decades ago is the
    message we must live by today. As the recent
    surge of pure Jew- hatred shows, had the
    world had its way, we would indeed be gone.
    But Anachnu Ma’aminim B’nei Ma’aminim,
    We are believers, children of believers, V’ein
    lanu al mi l’hishaein, ela al avinu
    sheh’bashamayim , and we have no one in
    whom to put our trust except for our Father in