The Three Faces of Sarah
The sages teach that Sarah lived 100 years, 20 years, and 7 years. This is called the three faces of Sarah. All of the years of Sarah’s life were equally good. When she was young she was wise beyond her years. When she was old, she not only had wisdom and prophesy, but God had restored the beauty of her youth when He promised her Isaac, and she lived a righteous life right up to her death. The sages teach that she died a righteous woman, untainted by sin.
We learned in a previous post the importance of the number three:
The number three carries a great deal of significance in its use in Scripture. Three symbolizes completion, perfection, unity, it is the number of truth, and is a connector. ” – Prayer’s Unbroken Fellowship
The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains Sarah’s life this ways:
The years of Sarah’s life were all equally good: This can be explained in several ways:
- The years of her life were all equally good. Sarah experienced many hardships and challenges, but they were not her life, her focus. Her life’s purpose was to fulfill her Divine mission, and she remained consistent in her devotion to God throughout her entire lifetime. In this respect, all the years of her life were equally devoted to goodness.1
- Every year of Sarah’s life was as complete and perfect as it could possibly have been. Although her later achievements made earlier ones pale in comparison, she lived up to her fullest potential at all times.2
- The time Sarah spent preparing for her Divine mission was just as valuable as the time she spent fulfilling it. Education and preparation are themselves an integral part of Divine living.3
- Although Sarah constantly achieved ever-higher degrees of goodness—and it would therefore seem that any given period in her life was, in this respect, superior to the period preceding it and inferior to the period following it—all her years can nonetheless be regarded as being equally good. Her every achievement built upon and perfected her previous accomplishments and, complementarily, prepared her for the greater heights she would eventually reach. In this way, Sarah succeeded in breaking through the boundaries of time and creating a cohesive oneness out of the different periods of her life. This last interpretation teaches us that what we do today affects not only the present, but the past and future as well.4
Sarah’s life should serve as an inspiration for us all.
Just as Sarah’s hardships were not her life, our tests, trials, and tribulations are not our life. They are part of the journey, part of what molds us, but not what defines us. “Her life’s purpose was to fulfill her Divine mission, and she remained consistent in her devotion to God throughout her entire lifetime. In this respect, all the years of her life were equally devoted to goodness” What is your Divine mission? Have you ever thought about that? God knows what He has planned for you, just ask Him. He will let you know. Start thinking about your Divine mission and what you will do when God shows you what it is. Remember, He will equip you to do anything that He asks you to do.
In the Land of Canaan
Let’s look back at another previous post and see what we discovered Canaan to mean”
Canaan represents merchant and wealth; a level of spiritual bounty and closeness to God. Canaan represents those times when our spiritual relationship with God equals that of a spouse; a developed relationship where we feel passionately in love with God. – Prayer Communication with God
Sarah had been restored to her rightful and holy space as wife to Abraham. They had received the promised son, Isaac. She had sent away Hagar and Ishmael to protect Isaac and his birthright. She was a righteous woman in every way. It is taught that God’s presence dwelled within her tent.
When two people marry, they are no longer individuals but become one. Abraham and Sarah are prime examples of this. The sages teach that Abraham viewed things abstractly, more from a spiritual perspective; Sarah, on the other hand, seemed to bring the spiritual into the physical realm. So, if we view Abraham and Sarah as one, Sarah would represent the body and Abraham the soul. When Sarah died, it was as if Abraham’s body had died. He (the soul of the body) mourned . “Abraham came to eulogize Sarah and to weep for her: The soul, which retains a connection to the body even after their separation upon death, comes to eulogize the body and weeps for the loss of its ability to operate from within it and thereby sanctify the physical world.” – The Lubavitcher Rebbe
Sarah had obtained closeness to God. Remember, God told Abraham that Sarah could prophetically see even more than he (Abraham) could. So, why did Sarah die at 127 years old?
The sages teach that when word of Isaac’s binding reached Sarah it was more than she could take. Abraham saw things from a spiritual perspective, so he didn’t see the harm in the potential of sacrificing Isaac. After all, He trusted God fully to provide another sacrifice. However, he had not discussed any of this with Sarah, his wife, mother of his child, mother who had sent away the other child. It was just too much for her heart to take. The sages explain it this way:
Sarah’s focus, in contrast, was on integrating Divine spirituality into the mundane world. So, while Abraham could somehow detach himself from the fact that Isaac’s death would spell the end of their Divine mission, Sarah could not. The thought that Isaac was no longer alive opposed everything she lived for, and her soul left her.
Sarah’s death should not be viewed as a negative event. The thought of Isaac’s death ended her “Divine” mission. Her work was complete here on the earth. She had lived a godly life from beginning to end.
Upon hearing that her husband and son had risen to the challenge of this ultimate sacrifice, Sarah’s soul was freed from the bonds of her body and attained an infinitely higher level of connection with God. It was specifically through this lofty experience that her life’s mission was completed and she no longer needed to remain in this world.10 – The Lubavitcher Rebbe
Purchasing the Cave
Read Genesis 23:3-20
Here we see that Abraham stopped his mourning, rose from his dead, and bowed before the people of the land. While he spoke with assertiveness when he spoke, we see that he humbly approached them. He was assertive yes, but he was humbled and not willing to negotiate. They didn’t try to argue with him, they did however try to GIVE him the piece of property for burial, but (16)”Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, commercial standard. (17) So Ephron’s field, which was in Machpelah, which faced Mamre, the field and cave which was in it, and all the trees which were in the field, that were within all the confines of its border, were deeded over (18) to Abraham for a possession in the presence of the sons of Heth, before all who went in at the gate of his city.”
13I am giving you the money for the field: Holy things cannot be acquired “for free,” that is, without proper effort.28 This is why Abraham chose to pay to transfer the property into the realm of holiness, even though it was rightfully his in any case.
Similarly, each one of us has been assigned a portion of the world that it is our responsibility to bring into the realm of holiness. We must do this at “full price,” with hard work and effort. Even those of us who find it easy to study the Torah and observe the commandments must push ourselves beyond the boundaries of our natural inclinations. Only in this way can we achieve our purpose in the world.29 The Lubavitcher Rebbe
Do you see what is above? God has assigned each of a responsibility to bring a portion of the world into the realm of holiness. This comes at a price; whether it is in the means of finance, time, study, writing, teaching…it will not be free, we will pay the full price in some way because the holy spaces cannot be given away.
I have been given a gift recently. It is a form of counsel, kind of like therapy, but not your traditional therapy where you would spill out every bad thing you have perceived to have happened to you throughout life; but a form of therapy that brings your body, mind, and soul into balance. The lady who is helping me find this balance has done so at no financial cost to me. However, her time is valuable and while, I accept her gift, I feel I must give back to her. So, this summer my parents had a garden. They worked the garden, preparing the ground, planting the seeds, weeding, and picking. They then brought a lot of the bounty of their work to me. I took this bounty and preserved it in salsa, chili base, pickles, etc. I was then able to return some of this bounty to them for them to enjoy, and also gift some of it to the nice lady helping me find balance. I was able to give her something for the holiness she was breathing into my life.
This “balancing therapy” uses psychological kinesiology. What does that mean? Well, we know that each of us have different learning styles: Visual, Auditory, Kinetically. In order to bring something into balance, she ask very generic questions which do not delve into anything I many not want to share. These questions are asked to my conscious/subconscious and my body responds. She gently presses on my arm, and my body reacts as either strong or weak. I can feel the response my body gives and she can feel the response my body gives. It is at this time that we both know if my spirit is giving permission for us to balance this area. An example of this, one of the generic questions is something like, “Do you feel worthy to receive love?” I do not verbally respond with yes or no, but my body does. After this question is asked, a simple statement of “be strong” is said and the slight pressure is applied to my outstretched arm. If my spirit doesn’t see this as an area we need to work on, the arm’s response is strong and it doesn’t move; but if I need to work on this area, then there is movement in the down position very easily. When this question was asked in my session, my spirit said I needed to work on this. I came to realize that most of my life I did not feel worthy to receive love. This affected every area of my life. I didn’t know how to say, “No,” I didn’t receive the respect I deserved from my children or others; and I was easily taken advantage of. Once we approached this visually: I pictured in my mind what it would feel like to be worthy to receive love; audibly: As I visualized it, I heard what others would say if I was worthy to receive love; and kinetically: I visualized it, I heard it, and I felt what it would be like to be worthy to receive love; after going through this process my whole life began to change! I have a new life as a result of this! Within a few days, people were noticing a difference in me and honestly, they weren’t sure they liked it. I learned how to say, “No,” when I needed to. I was able to create boundaries in my home that prevented my children from being disrespectful to me…so it also brought life to them. This holy change did not come without a price.
- I had to be willing to release not feeling worthy of love.
- I had to accept that I am very worthy to receive love.
- It also cost others something, because I am no longer the “take advantage of me” person I used to be.
I call this a holy change because I see it as a holy change. It is not something I changed in myself or something that my friend, who gifted me with this opportunity, made…it is a change that God made. This change brought LIFE to me. Yes, some relationships changed, but they changed in a way that brought life not only to me, but to the others in my life. Honestly, if I had not gone through this process, I do not think I would be writing this blog. This was something that had to be changed, I had to go through the refiner’s fire, in order to walk in my Divine mission of life.
Life is like a river…the water swiftly runs in the banks. The banks represent mercy and judgment. When balanced, mercy and judgment bring forth life. However, too much mercy can equal death. A merciful person can easily be taken advantage of, worked to death, and can become resentful resulting in a root of bitterness which robs them of their joy and creates darkness around them. Too much judgment can also equal death. When one has too much judgment their words seem critical, crippling, and feel as if they are sucking the life out of you. Many words spoken in judgment are spoken with the intent of love being shown…but are not received as such. So as we look at mercy and judgment as the boundaries for a river, we can think of a flood…too much of one or the other will result in the waters rising and breaching the banks, resulting in destruction and chaos, not life. This is why being in balance is so important.
We hold the power of life and death in our words, our actions, and the way we live our lives! Sarah knew this. She lived her entire life in a way that she brought God’s presence to dwell in her tent. All that encountered Sarah could tell she had been in the presence of God. Do others see that in us?
Father, thank you for Sarah. Thank you for the life she lived as an example to all of us. Thank you for your holy word, for the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and the sages who teach us the things that are not easily understood. Thank you for teaching us that our lives are like a river flowing smoothly when balanced between the banks of mercy and judgment, but destruction when we are out of balance. Lord, in and of ourselves, we do not hold the capabilities of maintaining the proper balance. Show us when we are out of balance, and help us to maintain that balance so that our very lives spring forth life in others. Forgive us when we are out of balance and create chaos and havoc for those around us. Forgive us of our sins and our shortcomings. Lord, we understand that holy things cannot come without a cost. Thank you for allowing Jesus to pay the price for our sins. Just as Abraham paid for Sarah’s burial site, may we pay the price for the holy spaces we are walking in. Father, please help us know that we are responsible for bringing a portion of this world into holiness, and please help us fulfill that responsibility. Show us what our Divine mission is and equip us to walk in it all the days of our life, just as Sarah did. For Lord, I believe this world will be a better place when we accept our responsibility for bringing this world into holiness. Forgive us for not accepting that responsibility sooner, and as a result we see the chaos and confusion taking place around us. Please have mercy on us for not accepting that responsibility sooner, and have mercy on the ones that we have failed by not accepting that responsibility sooner. Please do not punish them for our lacking. Thank you for hearing my prayer. Thank you for humbling me through this portion of Scripture. Thank you for showing me my shortcomings and providing me the opportunity to start new and fresh right here and now in the present. Thank you for Your word in 2 Corinthians 1:11 “He will rescue us because you are helping by praying for us, many will give thanks to God because so many people’s prayers for our safety have been answered. In Jesus name. Amen.
Blessings to you all,