For my Bat Mitzvah, I learned all about parshas Lech Lecha. In parshas Lech Lecha, Avraham, the first Jew, is commanded by G-d to leave his home, Charan. Avraham doesn’t know where he is going, but he still follows G-d’s command.
When most people learn this parsha, they focus on Avraham’s journey, but Sarah, his wife, took the same journey as he did.
I have learned many important lessons and values from Sarah. Sarah had all of the same roles her husband had: she was a prophetess, a leader, and a mother of our people—just as Avraham was our father. Sarah was also a teacher, and she focused specifically on the women. She was a great influence and inspiration. She was courageous and strong, and the parsha tells us she was also beautiful. She wasn’t selfish, and she supported and encouraged Avraham.
When Avraham was told to leave Charan, Sarah was also commanded to go. She had complete emunah, faith, in G-d, and she went, without knowing where they were going.
Later, when Avraham and Sarah had to go to Egypt to get food during a famine, Sarah pretended to be his sister so that Paraoh would not kill him in order to marry her. She did not know what would happen to her, and in fact Paraoh did take her to his palace, but Avraham’s life was spared because of her self-sacrifice.
Much later, when she ninety years old, after many years of prayer, she had a child—and she accepted G-d’s gift with laughter and joy.
Sarah was considered to be the ideal Jewish woman. The verses from Proverbs that we sing each Friday night at the Shabbos table, Eishes Chayil, are said to be about Sarah. The Midrash tells us that Avraham wrote it as a eulogy for her. From Eishes Chayil we learn that Sarah was kind, she fed the poor, she woke up early to take care of the needs of her household, she was a businesswoman, and many more great qualities. The Midrash also tells us that Sarah had a special blessing: her candles stayed lit all week, her challah stayed fresh, and a cloud of protection hung over her tent.
Lech Lecha is the story of Avraham and Sarah’s journey. Although their journey meant that they would leave their home and go to a new place, a journey doesn’t have to mean leaving your home, or even actually traveling. A journey is something that helps you reach a higher, holier place.
Just like Avraham and Sarah, we all have our own personal journeys, and we can learn from Sarah how to go about them.
We should be leaders in our own lives, just like Sarah was a leader. We should be teachers, and share our knowledge with others, just like Sarah taught all the women how to be Jewish. We should do our best to inspire and encourage others, and to be a good influence, just like Sarah was a role model and inspiration to the people around her.
Not everything will go our way or be easy. We have to adapt to that and sometimes even have self-sacrifice, just like Sarah when she was in Egypt. And we should accept the many gifts and blessings G-d gives us with joy, just like Sarah joyfully welcomed the news that she would have a baby.
My own life journey so far has included lots of happy times doing things I enjoy, as well as changes that have challenged me to grow. I homeschooled from kindergarten to fifth grade. During that time, I had plenty of time to do the things I enjoy, like dance, crafts, reading, singing, playing piano, and writing stories and poems. Now that I have been in school for two years, it’s been a growing experience to adjust to a different way of learning and to work a little harder to find time for extracurricular activities.
As a way of preparing for my bat mitzvah, I wrote and published a book about a girl who lives in the time of Avraham Avinu and Sarah Imeinu, and goes along with them on their journey to Canaan. Avraham and Sarah had taught many people to believe in G-d and follow the Jewish way, so when they followed G-d’s command to leave their home, they didn’t go alone—they brought many people along with them.
I have been fortunate to be brought up in a Jewish home where all my life I have learned the things that Sarah taught the women of her time. Even though she lived three thousand years ago, the Torah she taught still guides us today. I have been blessed to have a loving family that has given me everything I need.
Some children are not so fortunate and have families that can’t care for them properly. I learned about a place in Israel called Achuzat Sarah, which is a home for children who were abused or neglected, run by an organization called Emunah. One hundred forty children from ages six to eighteen live there and they are able to enjoy life in a loving Jewish environment. I decided to give the proceeds from the sale of my book as tzedakah, to help support the Achuzat Sarah children’s home.
Every other year, my school takes the seventh and eighth graders on a trip to Israel. Last year, on my trip, because of my connection to them, our group went to visit Achuzat Sarah. I was able to give the girls there my donation and a signed copy of my book in person to put in their library! It was an amazing experience to be there, read to them from the book, bake with them, and just have conversations with them. I hope to be able to help the children there as they continue on their own life journeys… just like Sarah Imeinu, our foremother, has helped many women and girls on their life journeys, including me.
— Rivka Resnick
Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy
Monson, Massachusetts, United States
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