AND WE MOURN….
And she died.
She was a faithful woman.
She prayed regularly.
She followed her husband in his work.
She was an immigrant.
She thought her child had been murdered.
She was a Palestinian.
“She” could be anyone. “She” could be one of the 26 murdered in a small Texas church. “She” could have been someone at a music concert in Las Vegas. “She” could have been watching a movie at a theater in Aurora, CO.
However, “she” was Sarah, our matriarch, the wife of Abraham, the mother of Isaac. And what we read about in synagogues throughout the world this week is how Abraham mourned the death of his wife. We learn that he buries her in the Cave of Machpelah, which he purchases from the Hittites for a burial site.
Sarah does not die from gunshot wounds (no guns, back then) or any particular violent act. It says only that she died in “Kiryat Arba -t he same is Hebron – in the land of Canaan.”
How do we reconcile the natural death of an old woman with the senseless murders of innocent human beings? In the United States in 2017, over 600 people have died in over 300 mass shooting incidents. How can we stand by and permit such horrid events to continue?
The Torah teaches that Sarah livde one hundred years and twenty years and seven years. The rabbis ask: Why does the Torah offer such an awkward and elongated way to state her age? Why not just “127 years?”
The answer? Sarah possessed the wisdom of a 100-year-old, the strength of a 20-year-old, and the child-like joy of a 7-year-old.
Each of those murdered in Sutherland Springs, Texas – and in the other 300+ mass shootings in the U.S. this year – were a Sarah. Each had a story. Each had wisdom. Each had strength. Each had joy. And now, their families – like Abraham – have had to go out and purchase a burial plot for their dead.
Those graves will be like Sarah’s – places of pilgrimage, places of holiness. For these places will be all that is left of lives snuffed out because of senseless violence.
I do not know what we – as a country – will do to stem this bloody tide of murder. All I know is that – until we do – we will mourn our dead and buy another plot of ground. And we will lose good men, women, and children – from 100 to 20 to 7. And the light that was their lives will be lost to us forever.
Zichronam livracha – may each of their memories become a blessing for us all.