Living Our Days to Elevate the World
This week’s portion is called Chayei Sarah, the Life of Sarah. By connecting to this Shabbat we can gain the energy to wake up each day with a certain consciousness – a consciousness that is able to elevate the entire world.
The first verse of this portion starts with, “vayihyu Chayei Sarah, mea shana, veesrim shana, vesheva shanim,” meaning “the days of Sarah were the years of her life, a hundred year, and twenty year, and seven years.” Then the last three words of the verse, “shenei Chayei Sarah,” “these were the years of the life of Sarah,” repeat. We know the Torah is very specific in its use of language and words. So, what is the Torah telling us by, again, using those words?
The kabbalists teach that most people think we are living our own life; we live our own day, we live our own week, we live our own month. However, what is being revealed here, in the repetition of this phrase, is that the real purpose of life is not to live your own life – not to live your own day, your own week, your own month – but to live for the world. This is how Sarah lived. Sarah’s consciousness when she woke up every morning was for her connection and Light to elevate the entire world, not just her own self. She injected her energy and her wisdom into the day for everybody to partake of. That’s what it means, the life of Sarah. The Torah repeats the words “shenei Chayei Sarah,” because those 127 years that Sarah was in this world, the world lived off her days. Every person anywhere, when they began their day, began it higher because of her.
This is also how we have to view our days. Every one of us, no matter where we are in our spiritual work, has to make sure that we don’t simply live our days for ourselves. Every day when we wake up in the morning, we have to have the consciousness of wanting our work to bring the world higher, of wanting to invest our work and our Light into the day. It is also important to understand that two people can do the exact same spiritual work, and one elevates the world while the other doesn’t. Why? Because one of them does it with consciousness, and the other doesn’t. As the Rav would always say, “Consciousness is everything.” If your consciousness is one of not of wanting to take the Light that you are revealing and inject it into the day for the world, then you can do the spiritual action and not elevate anyone.
Understanding now what it means, “shenei Chayei Sarah,” the life, the years of the life of Sarah, we know that we need to focus our own spiritual work in this same way. In those 127 years, Sarah lived her life for everybody else, not for herself. We need to be like Sarah, making it easier for all people to elevate. It also works conversely – we want to limit the times we fall, knowing that when we fall we lower the day for everybody else, their spiritual work thus becoming much more difficult. When we wake up in the morning, we are creating not only our own day, but also influencing the day that everyone around us is going to have. If we elevate ourselves, and have the consciousness of sharing that Light with the world, then we can elevate everybody else. However, when a person falls or acts in selfish ways, he brings down the day, making it much harder for everybody, and certainly for those around him, to elevate and grow.
The important teaching we want to take with us this week is that we have to live our days not for ourselves, but for the world. This needs to be the consciousness of our life, of everything that we do. Every time you connect to the Zohar, every time you do an act of sharing, remember that you’re not just doing it for yourself. You are taking that Light you revealed and injecting it into the day, and with it, bringing the entire world to a higher place.
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