In this week's parashah, Chayei Sarah, Sarah passes at age 127 and is buried in the cave of Machpelah in Hebron, which Abraham purchases from Ephron for four hundred shekels of silver.
Abraham’s servant Eliezer is sent, laden with gifts, to Charan, to find a wife for Isaac. At the village well, Eliezer asks G-d for a sign. When the maidens come to the well, Eleizer is to ask them for some water to drink. The woman who will offer him water for himself and his camels shall be the one destined for his master’s son. Rebecca, the daughter of Abraham’s nephew Bethuel, appears at the well and passes the “test”. Eliezer is invited to the home of Bethuel, where he repeats the story of the day’s events. Rebecca returns with Eliezer to the land of Canaan, where they encounter Isaac praying in a field. Isaac marries Rebecca, loves her, and is comforted over the loss of his mother. Abraham takes a new wife, Keturah (Hagar), and has six more sons, but Isaac is designated as his only heir. Abraham dies at age 175 and is buried beside Sarah by his two eldest sons, Isaac and Ishmael.
While this appears to be quite a mundane story, appearing to only show the circle of life and the cycle of regular events, there is a lot to be extracted from the text. Every negative experience in life can be followed through by sadness and devastation or can be used as an opportunity for growth. Amidst the sadness stemming from the passing of Sarah, Abraham maintains his pride and dignity, ensuring that he finds an appropriate spot for Sarah to be buried. Furthermore, he continues on with his life and seeks positivity, such as the happiness he may have found in seeing the marriage of his son.
From this we learn the importance of having a growth mindset. Abraham could very well have decided to mourn and give up on life, but he held his head high and continued his life with pride. He seeks the positive in life. In a time as difficult as now, it is important we all keep our heads high and strive for positivity.
Dan, Grade 11