“Now Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah.”  Gen. 23:1

Jews typically do not read in chapters, but rather they read Parshas, which are larger portions of the text.  Parsha Chayei Sarah is the fifth parsha of Genesis, which means “The Life of Sarah”.  We may find “The Life of Sarah” an odd title considering that her death is announced in verse 1 and the rest of the chapter is comprised of Abraham acquiring her burial place.  However this is no mistake;  A midrash tells us that we are told of her death in connection with her life because her years were filled with life.  When you re-read verse 1 you will note the repetition – “Sarah lived… these were the years of the life of Sarah.

Sarah has the distinction of being the only woman in the bible whose age is given     upon death.  Some translations read Sarah’s age as one hundred years, twenty years and seven years.  There is no obvious significance to this breakdown – we know Isaac was born when Sarah was 90 or 91 for example, not 100.  Some Jewish commentators note that 120 years would be the ideal age (based upon Moses’ life), and the additional seven years could be because the number 7 represents completion, perfection, God, etc.

Though the reason Sarah died is not listed in scripture, a midrash tells us that Sarah died because Abraham returned from Moriah without Isaac, and she believed he had been sacrificed.  We cannot rule out this possibility, nor can we prove it.  It does appear that Isaac did not return with Abraham however (see my previous post: We Will Worship and Return to You)

 

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