Just before this verse the Torah states,
And Betuel begot Rivkah (22:23).
For it was while Sarah's sun had not yet set, that
Rivkah's sun rose. This is alluded to in the initial letters of the words
Sarah meah shanah
- Sarah.... one hundred years,
which spell shemesh,
sun. And this is the lesson of the verse,
And the sun shines and the sun sets (Kohelet
Must Scripture tell us the sun shines and the sun
sets? The verse must be understood as a parable:
Before G-d allows the sun of a righteous leader to set
[i.e., before that leader's demise], He causes the sun of another righteous
leader to rise [i.e., his successor enters the world]. Thus, on the day
that Rabbi Akiva died, Rebbi [Yehudah HaNassi] was born... On the day Rabbi
Ada bar Ahavah died, Rabbi Avun was born.
Examples of a similar phenomenon, the appointment of a
successor during the first leader's lifetime, are:
Before G-d caused Moshe's sun to
set, He caused Yehoshua's sun to rise, as it is stated,
Hashem said to Moshe, "Take to yourself Yehoshua son
of Nun..." (BaMidbar 27:18)
Before G-d caused Sarah's sun to
set, He caused Rivkah's sun to rise, thus, it is stated,
Behold! Milkah too has born children... [and Betuel
begot Rivkah] (22:20-23), and then [the
verse speaks of Sarah's passing.] Sarah's lifetime was one hundred years...
(Bereishit Rabbah 52:8; Kohelet Rabbah 1:5; also Kiddushin 72b).
Shenei chayei Sarah
- The years of Sarah's life.
The verse does not say,
yemei [chayei Sarah]
the days of [Sarah's life], because [in order for her to conceive and bear
Yitzchak] she had been rejuvenated and had been returned to the days of her
youth. When she became still older, those youthful days ceased. Therefore
the verse states, shenei chayei Sarah,
the years of [Sarah's life], which can also be understood as, the two
[lives of Sarah].
In recounting people's ages the Torah usually uses the
term yemei chayei,
the days of the life of... (see 5:8, 11, 14).
Regarding seven people, however, the term
shenei chayei, the year of the life of...,
Yaakov (47:8,9, 28)
Levi (Shemot 6:16)
Kohat (Shemot 6:18)
Amram (Shemot 6:20)
*Note: Baal HaTurim explains why
shenei and not
used regarding Sarah. Curiously, he makes not attempt to explain the others.
Perhaps, the Baal HaTurim ignores the word
shenei regarding Avraham and Yaakov because
each of the verses there uses yemei
as well as shenei.
Regarding Yishmael, he makes no comment because there, like here, the word
could be seen as meaning two. For Yishmael also lived "two" lives,
as the Talmud teaches: Yishmael repented the evil of his ways
(Bava Batra 16b). Thus, he
lived two lives, one wicked, one righteous. Regarding Levi, Kohat and Amram,
the Baal HaTurim does not comment, for as Rashi (Shemot 6:16, 18) explains, it
is not the Torah's purpose to reveal the respective ages of these three;
rather, their ages are mentioned as time frames by which to determine the
exact number of years during which the Yisraelim were subjected to slavery in
Egypt. Thus shenei
is the more appropriate word (VeChur LaZahav).
Vayakam Avraham meal penei meto vayedaber el benei
Chet - And Avraham rose from the presence of
his dead, and spoke to the children of Chet.
This, the order of Avraham's actions, first rising and
leaving the presence of his dead wife, then speaking, teaches that it is
forbidden to speak in the presence of a corpse. The verse could have stated
simply, And Avraham spoke to the children of
Chet, without telling us that he first
rose from the presence of his dead. By adding the extra clause, the
Torah teaches that generally it is not permitted to speak in the presence of
the deceased (VeChur LaZahav).
The term benei Chet,
the children of Chet, appears ten times in this passage (here 8 times
- v3, 5, 7, 10 [twice], 16,
18, 20, and two more in 25:19 and
49:32), for anyone who clarifies the acquisition
of property by a Torah sage is considered to have fulfilled the Ten
Commandments, in which the letter chet
appears ten times.
Metecha - Your
This word appears four times in the Tanch, three times
here (twice in v6 and once in
v11); and once in
Yeshayahu 26:19 - your dead will come to life...
Three times in this pasasge are spelled defectively
[without a yud],
for they refer to only one deceased person. The verse in
Yeshayahu, by contrast, is
spelled in full [with a yud],
for it is speaking about many dead people.
There is an allusion here to the Sages' statement: The
dead in Eretz Yisrael will be resurrected first (Yerushalmi,
Kilayim 9:3). For the term
dead, of the verse [which speaks of Eretz Yisrael], and the term
yichyu meteicha , your dead will come to life,
of the verse in Yeshayahu
[which speaks of thosde who died ini all the ends of
the earth - v.16]
can be interpreted in tandem: Those dead who are buried here [in Eretz
Yisrael] will resurrect those dead who are buried there [in the diaspora]
(Rabbi Yehudah HaChassid; Ketubot 111a; Bereishit