Hayei Sarah | חיי שרה

Making Love in the Field: Hayei Sarah 5781

Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. He raised his eyes and saw camels approaching (Gen. 24:63). This scene, this moment before Isaac and Rebecca first meet, is dramatic and full of mystery. The two protagonists have come physically close, but remain each in their own world, and that never really changes….

Dark Comfort: Hayei Sarah 5780

A cloud of loneliness and loss hangs over Parashat Hayei Sarah. The main losses are the deaths of our first matriarch Sarah and our first patriarch Abraham, but even the happier moments are overcast with sorrow. Why, in chapter 24, does Abraham send his servant to find a wife for Isaac? Three reasons immediately come…

Stronger than Hate: Hayei Sarah 5779

The first thing we saw upon landing in Pittsburgh today was the instantly iconic transformation of the Steelers’ logo to integrate a yellow Magen David and the phrase, “Stronger than Hate.” The three diamonds were originally part of the US Steel logo, with yellow for coal, orange for iron ore and blue for steel scrap—the…

Only Two Lives to Live: Hayei Sarah 5778

When people ask me what I miss most about being a congregational rabbi, the first thing that comes to mind is nihum aveilim, comforting the bereaved. Of course I enjoyed the simhas more, but when sitting with a family in their living room, or standing with them as they huddled together by the grave, I…

Bringing the God of Heaven Back to Earth: Hayei Sarah 5775

Where is Abraham, the paragon of compassion, when we need him most? Reading the news this week, when antagonists in the holy land have succeeded in spewing hatred in newly violent ways, let’s think about Abraham, the symbol of compassion, of חסד, and try to embody his grace for the sake of all of his…

Who Decides for the Girl? Hayei Sarah 5774

A strange man comes to town, bearing heavy gold jewels, looking to “acquire” a wife for his master’s son. He sees a pretty young woman, finds the responsible man, and they set terms, agreeing that the girl will be sent off with this stranger to a foreign land. That is one way to tell the…