November 8, 2017
Rabbi H. Greenberg in #1092, Chayei Sara, Parsha Thought


The connection of Geula-Redemption to women is firmly rooted in the teachings of our sages:

“In the merit of the righteous women the Jewish people were liberated from Egypt.” (Talmud, Sota 11b)

The same has been said by the Rebbe about our generation - the last of Galus-exile and the first of Geula - that it will be in the merit of the women. Indeed, according to the Arizal (Shaar HaGilgulim, Hakdama 20) the last generation of Galus - our generation - is actually a gilgul-reincarnation of the generation of the exodus from Egypt.


What is this special quality with which women have been endowed? In the simplest of terms, it is their emuna-faith, which they possess in greater measure than men. It is this faith which did not - in the past - and will not - in the future - let them give up in their push towards Geula.

Indeed, the Midrash (Mechilta B’Shalach 14:31) attributes the exodus to the emuna of the Jewish people at large. This does not contradict the statement of the Talmud that it is the merit of the women, for the women were the ones who instilled this emuna into the entire Jewish people.

In truth, as the Rebbe explained on several occasions, women do not possess more emuna than men, rather, the intrinsic faith that each and every one of us possesses can be accessed more easily by women. Women were endowed by Hashem with an enhanced capacity to manifest their inner feelings.

Where did the women get this ability to pierce through the barriers that do not allow the emuna of men to surface?


It is reasonable to assume that it is an inheritance from the Matriarchs, particularly, the Matriarch Sarah - the first Jewish woman.

In the parsha Chayei Sarah, the only parsha named after a woman, the Torah encapsulates all that distinguished Sarah from all other people, including her husband Abraham. As the Rebbe explained, the fact that the Parsha is named Chayei Sarah, though it deals exclusively with her passing and events that transpired as a consequence of her departure, is an indication that all the events of the Parsha exemplify her life.

There are three pivotal events in this Parsha: a) the purchase of the M’aras HaMachpella (the Cave of Machpella) for the burial of Sarah; b) the marriage of Yitzchak to Rivka; and c) the sending away of Yishmoel and Abraham’s other six sons. The first event connected Abraham and the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. The second and third events guaranteed Jewish continuity.

Let us reflect on the significance of the first event: the purchase of M’aras HaMachpella. The Land of Israel was given to Abraham and his children by G-d. Yet, until the purchase of M’aras HaMachpella, Abraham did not assert his Divinely ordained right. Though there was no question as to the righteousness of his claim to the land, Abraham did not feel compelled to exercise his right.

Only as a result of Sarah’s passing did Abraham speak firmly to the people of Cheis: “I am a stranger and a settler…” As Rashi observes, by adding the word “settler,” Abraham intimated to the people of Cheis that “if you will not let me purchase the land, I will invoke my right to it as a settler and take it by force.” Sarah’s influence, even posthumously, empowered Abraham to not wait for the realization of G-d’s promise in the distant or even near future, but to insist on its fulfillment without delay.

With respect to the second and third events of this parsha, Abraham, without Sarah’s influence, could have tolerated Yitzchak not becoming the exclusive heir to his special relationship with G-d. Consequently, there would not have been an eternal Jewish nation the way we know it.


We are living in a time where we have been told by the Rebbe that “The time of your Redemption has arrived.”

From the time the Rebbe made this declaration, he never qualified it or weakened its implication. On the contrary, with the passage of time, the Rebbe reinforced these words with statements such as “The Geula is here, we just have to open our eyes.” “We are already seeing a (sampling and) a beginning of the influence and effect of Moshiach on the nations,” and similar pronouncements.

Notwithstanding the clarity of the Rebbe’s message, the women were the ones who appreciated and continue to appreciate the urgency and the practical relevance of the Rebbe’s words.

While the men, perhaps, can think and talk about the imminence of Geula, the women are the ones who are making it happen. For the men, without the influence of the women, Moshiach and Geula are real concepts and real ideas. For the women, Moshiach and Geula are reality, not just theories, concepts and ideas. Without the concretization of the Geula, women cannot be satisfied with just its promise. The men, just as our father Abraham, owe their own commitment to the urgency and actualization of Geula to the influence of the nashim tzidkoniyos-righteous women of our generation.

Not only do the women view Moshiach and Geula as concrete and tangible realty, but there is no room in their belief system for any other eventuality. The Sarah’s of old and of new saw/see the eternal nature of the Jewish people and the inevitability and imminence of Redemption.


It is no coincidence that during the same week that the Torah reading features Sarah’s impact on Abraham, the Haftorah-prophetic reading features a woman who was the first and only person in Tanach to declare: “Yechi … l’olam-May my lord, king David live forever.” While the expression “Yechi HaMelech-May the King live” itself can be found earlier at the anointing of King Saul and in other places, the addition of “adoni” (implying that he was her master) and “l’olam” (meaning “forever,”) can only be found in Biblical literature once. The one and only time it is used is here. Bat Sheva, a woman, said it to King David.

The fact that it is recorded in the parsha of Chayei Sarah, which illustrates Sarah’s contribution to the formation of the Jewish people, is instructive.

When the Jewish person were still in its nascent state, it was Sarah, the first Jewish woman, whose influence concretized the theoretical connection of Abraham to the Land of Israel. It was also Sarah’s desire that Isaac (and not any of Abraham’s other sons) should inherit his legacy, ensuring the continuity of the Jewish people. Similarly, when the time arrived for the establishment of the Davidic dynasty for all eternity, paving the way to the Geula, it was a woman who bestowed eternal life to Dovid, by her declaration of Yechi … l’olam.

Now that we stand at the end of that path, on the very threshold of Geula, the women are again the ones who stand in the forefront of the movement to accept Moshiach’s sovereignty. And it is the women, with their overt expressions of faith, who are the inspiration for all of us to cry out, ad masai-how much longer! and Yechi HaMelech-May the king live, referring to Moshiach.

Moreover, the women’s influence will not allow us to accept any compromise in our faith in the certainty and imminence of Moshiach’s coming to redeem us.

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (
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