It’s fascinating that the parsha describing Sarah’s death and burial is called Chayei Sara, the life of Sarah.
Her age is given in a rather peculiar manner: “100 years, 20 years and seven years.”
Rashi famously points out that at the ripe old age of 100, Sarah was as virtuous as a 20-year-old, with the innocent beauty of a seven-year-old. The verse concludes by repeating “the years of Sarah’s life” as if they were equal in their goodness.
George Bernard Shaw once quipped: “Youth is wasted on the young.” When young, we are full of vibrancy and passion; we believe we can change the world for the better. As we get older, we tend to run out of steam and just keep chugging along the path we set for ourselves years before.
But for Sarah, each day presented new challenges and opportunities and she approached each one with the vigour of a young woman. Abraham and Sarah were a dynamic couple, full of energy and devoted to the mission of changing the world.
All too often we meet people who would love to make a difference, but remain ensconced in their comfort zone.
In the Shema, we say the words, “asher anochi metsavcha hayom…hayom al levavecha”.
We are commanded that God’s words should be new and fresh, upon our hearts, today and every day.
Each day is a new experience, one that can and must remain fresh so we can harness our innate excitement to maximise the power and potential that lies within each moment.
In that way, just like Abraham and Sarah, we can leave a legacy of a full life to build a brighter future.
Rabbi Naftali Schiff is founder and chief executive of Jewish Futures