Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. So Sarah died in Kirjath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. (Genesis 23:1-2)
Traditionally, Sarah’s death occurred shortly after – some say because of – the binding of Isaac on Mount Moriah. It is interesting that the Scripture says that Abraham “came to mourn” for her as if to say that he wasn’t there when she passed. Whatever the circumstance, because he was considered to be a sojourner, Abraham had to negotiate the purchase of a burial site suitable for his “princess.”
In Judaism one of the most noble acts of kindness a person can demonstrate to another is to make certain they are properly cared for in death. Rabbis point to the fact that when Moses died, God Himself attended to his burial (Deut 34:6). Saying goodbye to a loved one is hard enough but knowing that they were honored in their passing and were respected in their interment helps us who remain to better cope with the loss.
Frankly, these matters are more of a benefit for the survivors than they are for the departed. When we come together to mourn, we do so to help with our grief and emotions. In my view, we don’t necessarily acknowledge the passing of someone as much as we honor the fact that our loved one lived. Thus the Scripture doesn’t begin the narrative with the words, “Sarah died” but with, “Sarah lived.”
One day each and everyone will have to depart this life and people will gather to remember us and acknowledge that we lived. So, let’s live in such a way that others will have cause to rejoice in the fact that we were here. Let’s be that person who loved God with all of our heart and willingly sacrificed for our family. Let’s leave our loved ones something to carry with them the rest of their days that encourages them to live life as God intended.
Blessings and Shalom,