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Dear  Naaleh Friend,

This week's Parsha is Parshat Chayei Sara. offers many classes on this Parsha (many which you can view here) and is excited to share with you the newest one. The class,  Beautiful Badekin Blessing  is  by Mrs. Shira Smiles and she discusses this week's Parsha in depth.  This class is featured in Mrs. Smiles newest series Living the Parsha 5778.

 To watch this class now and to learn more please click on the image below: 

This week's edition of our Torat Imecha Newsletter on Parshat Chayei Sara is available on our  Newsletter pageClick here for the printer friendly version, to share at your Shabbat table! Be sure to visit the homepage as well, for many more inspiring Torah classes! 
Shabbat Shalom!

-Ashley Klapper and the Naaleh Crew
For Tehillim list please click here to view our Refuah Shleima page
Sumarry by: Channie Koplowitz-Stein
Once while Rabbi Akiva was teaching his students, he noticed that they started to fall asleep. He roused them by telling them that Queen Esther merited ruling over 127 lands because her ancestress Sarah lived for 127 years. How do we understand this connection?

First, we must note that these were not ordinary students. Among them were the great Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Yehudah - giant figures who enabled Judaism to continue after the destruction of the Temple, notes the  Dorash Mordechai . The period of Rabbi Akiva was a period of destruction. Rabbi Pincus explains that both Sarah and Esther served to found a new nation; Sarah at the point of our inception, and Esther at our rebirth from possible annihilation. Each maintained their  temimus , their wholeness and purity at every stage of their lives.  
Rabbi M. Z. Sacks, cites a source from  Shir Hashirim Rabba . Rabbi Yehudah roused his students by telling them that in Egypt one woman gave birth to 600,000 children at once.  This riddle referred to Yocheved, who gave birth to Moshe who, because of his role is saving the Jewish nation, is valued as equivalent to all 600,000 Jews that Hashem took out of Egypt. Both Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yehudah dealt with the despondency and hopelessness of their generation after the destruction of the Temple. By citing these models, Sarah, Moshe and Esther, these sages tried to infuse hope in their disciples and rouse them to rebuild, to fire up their brothers and bring the assimilated Jews back to Torah.  

Rashi says that the Torah adds the words, "these were the years of Sarah," to tell us that all the years were equally good. Despite her difficult challenges, Sarah never lost hope to do good. Similarly, Esther also experienced challenges and trials yet remained steadfast in her faith. Rabbi Akiva could easily have given up, but by citing the examples of Esther and Sarah, he bolstered his own faith and spurred his disciples to action.

While Queen Esther ruled over 127 lands, Sarah, as her name suggests, also ruled. Both maintained mastery over themselves and over their faith, in whatever circumstances they found themselves, notes Rabbi Alpert. In every moment of their lives, they believed that they were where Hashem wanted them to be and that Hashem was with them.  

Both  Sarah Imeinu  and Queen Esther used their time fully. This was Rabbi Akiva's message to his disciples. Just as  Sarah Imeinu  affected so many lives in her generation, so can you affect lives in this generation. Wake up from your lethargic despondency and make your time count.  

Sarah's mastery over self and over time was transmitted to Esther, who developed mastery over 127 provinces. But royalty is not a given, notes the  Asufat Maarachot . It must be developed from within so the person is master over himself, in all circumstances. Sarah is the Mother of monarchy, and kings and queens descended from her precisely because she maintained mastery over herself. She kept her soul connected to Hashem at all times and felt rejuvenated each day in that relationship. 

We seek renewal and excitement in the material world because we don't feel it in our spiritual lives notes the Talalei Chaim. Our souls are looking for connection and newness. While we are awake, our soul is always giving. During sleep, the soul is open to receiving; it is when we give our spirits over to Hashem. The students of Rabbi Akiva wanted to sleep to receive new spiritual energy. But Rabbi Akiva was telling them that waking life offers continuous moments of connection to Hashem. They must create newness and satisfaction during the wakeful moments of life. They must fill their days with meaning as  Sarah Imeinu  did. 

Rav Dessler suggests that Rabbi Akiva was teaching difficult concepts and his students were tuning out. But he was telling them that they have to look for role models to elevate themselves, as Queen Esther did in emulating our Matriarch Sarah. When we bless our daughters to be like our Matriarchs, we are providing them with role models to emulate. The Matriarchs did not sleep through life, but made every moment count in striving to reach wholeness and perfection in their service of Hashem. When we wake up every morning and thank Hashem for returning our souls revitalized and refreshed, we should breathe that energy in deeply so that we can go forth and fill the gift of that day Hashem has given us with holiness.
The Cycle of Life

The Torah presents the concept of having children as a blessing. In Bereishit the verse says, "Hashem blessed Adam and Chava and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply." Unfortunately, in today's world, certainly in the West, having a child is not seen as a blessing. The Torah defines a blessing as something that magnifies and maximizes one's potential. When Hashem looked at man, the apex of creation, he said, "My blessing to you is to be fruitful and multiply and to fill the world." This clearly does not mean having one child. Filling the world is the ultimate blessing. It makes you more. You might ask, "More what?" It certainly does not make you feel more relaxed or richer financially.

Let's explore what being a person is. The Maharal divides personhood into 3 segments, the intellectual-spiritual self, the choosing self, and the physical self. The physical self of the parent is not improved by child-raising. That is a consequence of the curses that were given after the blessing to have children. But intellectually and spiritually, parents have the ability to give over who they are to another human being. A parent can create his own original work of art, and your child is your palette. This is incomparable to any other experience in life. There's nothing more enriching or rewarding than raising children, which gives one the opportunity to maximize who one truly is. The activities of raising children parallel Hashem's attribute of chesed. No other human relationship can compare to it.

Having children makes you a more fulfilled, actualized, person in every way, except physically and materially. Western society fails to realize that we are here on a very brief journey. Investing in your physical self as an end in itself is always a bad bargain.

Every day we say in Ashrei, " Poteiach et yadecha u'masbia l'chol chai ratzon ." The words poteich et yadecha spell out the mystic name patach . This name means Hashem can and does cut through all the material barriers to give a person exactly what he needs. Having a child is a blessing, but it is tinged with the curses that were given after the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. Left alone a curse remains a curse. When one responds to it as a challenge, the curse turns into a blessing.

Rabbeinu Yonah writes in Igeret Hateshuva, that when a woman is expecting a child she should constantly pray. People sometimes relate to tefilah as they do to a shopping list. If I do everything right, I'll get what I want. Most of us have had the experience of davening for something and not getting it. We sometimes don't see the benefit of this. In truth all tefilot are answered but there are three kinds of yesses. The first yes occurs when you ask for what you want and you get it immediately, and you can see it is a consequence of the tefilah . The second yes is, "This not what you need or want. I will give you something better than what you asked for." And Hashem can credibly say that. The third kind of yes, is, "Yes, but not today. You'll receive it on the day that you'll really make use of it." But the answer is always yes.

When a woman is expecting a child, she should pray constantly to draw down abundance from above. The Moreh Nevuchim says that the more a person seeks Hashem the more he will find Him. The less a person seeks Him the less he will see the answer to his prayers and His presence in general. Rabbeinu Yonah writes that one should pray that the child be a yarei shamayim . However, isn't it the child's choice? The gemara says, "Everything is in the hands of heaven except fear of Heaven." We do see that people have to choose yirat shamayim . They may have every advantage, but due to their own bad choices walk away from the advantages they were born into. One of the clich├ęs that people who are off the derech repeat is that it's the fault of their family. But in truth, a significant portion come from exemplary homes. Something else went wrong. It could have been the school system or their friends or their choice to pursue immediate pleasure rather than sticking to a religion where you have to say no to yourself now and again.

The prayer of a parent is for the child to have a conducive atmosphere where he can choose yirat shamayim easily. Let his kindergarten teacher be inspiring, let the books he takes out of the library be books that are good for him, let him make good choices. Yirat shamayim doesn't only mean fear of punishment, although it starts with that. It's standing in awe of Hashem and trembling before His greatness. That's what one should wish for one's children and one must pray for it before they are born.

Money Mattera: Inheritance

When a Jew dies his property automatically transfers to his heirs as delineated in Jewish law. If one wants to circumvent this, one must draw up a halachic will stating how one's assets should be allocated. According to halacha , a wife doesn't inherit. She must be provided with support and a place to live and whatever she needs according to her honor. This obligation on the estate comes before the right of the heirs to inherit. If there is only enough money to support her, the sons receive nothing.

According to Jewish law, daughters do not inherit. The sons inherit everything including land, moveable property, and even intangible property such as the rights to an original book or song. The right to allocate assets maintained in a charitable fund or trust fund to charity passes on to the heirs. If the deceased left no sons, the grandsons inherit. If there are no grandsons, the assets would go to the deceased's daughters. If the deceased had two sons that are no longer alive the assets will go to the son's children. The grandfather's estate would be divided by the families of his children. For example, half would go to the granddaughter of one son and the other half to the grandsons of the other son.

Although daughters usually don't inherit, if the deceased left an unmarried daughter she must be supported until she gets married. When she gets married she must be given a dowry. If the deceased had no sons but had a daughter who died, her children inherit, her husband does not. If a man died without any descendants at all, his estate goes back to his father. If his father is no longer alive either it gets passed to his grandfather. If he too is no longer alive it goes to the deceased's paternal uncles. If they too are not alive, it goes to the aunts. If there are no living aunts it goes to the great grandfather. If he is no longer alive it goes to his great uncles and then to his great aunts. If there are no living heirs it goes to the great great grandfather and so backwards down the line. There is no such thing as a Jew dying without heirs, unless he is a convert.

Featured Classes
Parshat Chayei Sara Gauging Goodness
Mrs. Shira Smiles
Three Elements of Prayer
Rabbi Hershel Reichman
Parshat Chayei Sarah Rabbi Hanoch Teller
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