Parsha Chayei Sarah – Still Yourself and Receive Life’s Blessings

| parsha reflection |

This week’s parsha, Chayei Sarah, begins with the death of Sarah, at age 127. Abraham, her husband, purchases a burial property for her, and later marries another woman, Keturah,  who bears him six more children. He also sends his most senior servant to his birth land to find a wife for his son Isaac, and most of the parsha details this servant’s journey and discovery of Isaac’s bride, Rebecca.

The servant travels to the city of Nachor and begins his search for a wife for Isaac among the women gathering water from the well. Feeling unsure of how he will recognize the right woman, he prays to G-d for help, saying, “If I say to a girl, ‘Tip over your jug and let me have a drink,’ and she  replies, ‘Drink, and I will also water your camels,’ she will be the one whom You have designated for Your servant Isaac.” The first woman he approaches is Rebecca; when she offers him and his camels a drink, he knows he has found Isaac’s bride.

In the servant’s journey and his prayer to G-d, I saw a reflection of something I often think about: when we’re searching for something – be it a romantic partner, a new job, a new house, a new community – we can put ourselves out there and look, but at the end of the day, there is a lot of luck involved in us finding what we’re seeking. Accepting this reality can often be a struggle for me, and at times I grow discouraged and think, If so much of life is random and out of my control, why bother trying? I risk shutting down and shutting myself off from new connections and new opportunities.

There was a second part of the parsha that seemed to offer some inspiration for this struggle: as the servant is bringing Rebecca to meet Isaac, the Torah reads that he “went out to meditate in the field toward evening. He raised his eyes, and  saw camels approaching.” With the camels came Rebecca, who he not only wed but loved. I love this image, of Isaac sitting still in a lush field as, unbeknownst to him, his bride and future love is riding toward him. In this picture I see what meditation does for me: it stills the fear inside of me – of being hurt and disappointed, of things being out of my control – and helps me live with the fact that much of life is uncertain, and see that sometimes uncertainty can lead to positive outcomes.

So my kavanah (or intention) for this week is the following: let our meditation practice help us open our eyes to whatever life is bringing our way, and let us recognize that sometimes those things might be just what we’ve been looking for.