Do you ever try to… picture the Parsha?  To envision the scenes of the weekly Torah-portion in vivid detail?  To imagine yourself walking right among the great Biblical figures who once walked the earth?  Or, have you ever literally walked in their footsteps?

I was very fortunate to once travel to Israel with relatives in honor of a special occasion.  My experiences there forever touched me and I am grateful to G-d and my relatives every day.  Some of the most overwhelming moments was having the opportunity to literally walk where our ancestors once did.  Where they lived, inspired, lead, taught, built, and dreamed.

Join me as we PICTURE THE PARSHA.  Together.


This week’s Torah portion, “Chayei Sarah – The Life of Sarah” in fact begins with recounting her passing and burial at the age of 127 years.  Why the incongruity in calling a discussion about death, life?

It is a tenet of our faith that the end of physical life does NOT equal an absolute end of a life.  Yes, there is a concept of a life in the next world, a level beyond this physical world to which a soul rises.  But even within this world, a person may remain very much alive and present, in a spiritual sense.  They endure in the Mitzvot and good deeds they performed, and the goals and values they to which they dedicated their lives.  They still live in these matters and in every person who perpetuates their legacy by following in their ways.

Sarah lives on in our commitment to our Judaism, the kindness we share with others, our efforts to increase our awareness of Hashem in every experience…

Sarah passed away in Kiryat Arba, and as a burial place for his beloved wife, Avraham purchased the field of Ephron, the Chitite and Me’aras Hamachpeilah (the Cave of Machpeilah) within it.  It is part of the heritage of Jewish People, and it is located in modern-day Chevron, one of Israel’s four holiest cities.  At Sarah’s funeral, Avraham eulogized her with the  poem of “Aishes Chayil” that he composed, which King Solomon later made famous.

After his passing Avraham was laid to rest beside Sarah.  Adam and Chava (Eve), Yitzchak and Rivkah, Yaakov and Leah are also buried in the cave.

In the years before the destruction of the Second Beis Hamikdash in Jerusalem, the Roman king Herod who occupied the Holy Land constructed the large, rectangular edifice over and around the cave.

After Sarah’s passing, Avraham dispatches his servant Eliezer to Arah Naharayim to find a suitable partner for his son, Yitchak.  As a test of character, Eliezer decides whichever girl provided water to him, a travelling stranger, and to all his camera as well, would exhibit the selflessness befitting a mother of the Jewish people.

Young Rivkah was the one.  And it was a match made in Heaven.

Modern-day Kiryat Arbah

Me’aras Hamachpeila, or the Cave of Machpeilah, from the road outside

With my family at the Cave

Camels in the tribal territory of Judah

A camel in the Negev (south) of Israel

…and more camels! (I rode one!)