Hayye Sarah – The Cycle of Life

Nechama Leibowitz commented that the Parasha begins with the purchase of the burial plot for Sarah, and ends with the arrival of Rivka in Sarah’s tent, as Yitzchak’s wife. Death and marriage symbolise the unchanging cycle of mortal existence, the replacement of one generation with the next. The principle Avraham wished to be followed was that the traditions established by Sarah should be compatible with the attitudes of the bride chosen for Yitzchak.


Avraham’s servant Eliezer applied a character test at the well, and it indicated that Rivka was hospitable, considerate and unassuming, and she showed her kindness and generosity, personally giving him and his camels water. It remained for him to meet her family and negotiate her departure. In this, Rivka was a willing participant.


Aviva Gottleib Zornberg wrote that with Rivka’s arrival, the energy of hope returned, the darkness in the tent was replaced by light. R’ SR Hirsch wrote that the basis for their marriage was their compatibility and their suitability, so that their love grew as they came to know each other better. He wrote that Yitzchak found consolation in his wife for the loss of his mother, and the feminine spirit and feeling returned to his home. Their wedding was the beginning of their true love. Aviva Gottleib Zornberg saw that in her response to encountering Yitzchak praying in the field, Rivka hid something of herself behind her veil, as she was confronted by his loftiness at prayer, and the residual pain following the Akeda, and she was dumfounded in his presence. She sensed the anguish at the heart of his prayers, and a remoteness from the sunlit world of Chesed which she inhabited. Zornberg wrote that full dialogue would be impossible between them, and there would be deceptions and manipulations between them as a result, in addition to the hope and the healing.

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One thought on “Hayye Sarah – The Cycle of Life

  1. How could Aviva Zornberg conclude from their meeting that Rivka and Yitzchak would have communication difficulties which would be insurmountable?Surely when people meet and marry, they hope to help each other overcome their difficulties in time.How can she already predict from what has occcurred that there will be deceptions and manipulations between them?Can anyone explain this?