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Defying the threat of terror and the stormy weather, tens of thousands of Jews are planning to take part in the annual Shabbat Chayei Sarah festivities in Hebron.
At least 20,000 Jews from all across Israel, and some coming in from around the world, converged on the biblical city of Hebron this shabbat to honor the memory of the Matriarch Sarah, whose burial in the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron - Maarat HaMachpela - was chronicled in this week's Torah portion.
From the moment she is introduced as Avraham’s young bride (Bereshit 11: 29,30,31) till her death in this week’s Torah portion appropriately titled Chayei Sarah -- The Life of Sarah , the fascinating image of our first matriarch is the subject of many intriguing Midrashic commentaries.
In his book, Thirteen Days (1968), Robert Kennedy publicized the inner workings of the Kennedy White House during the terrible days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He described how the President’s special advisory group, known as ExComm, debated the options available to defuse the crisis in light of the intelligence presented to them.
Hashem has many agents who do His bidding and bring about in the world the ends He desires. Sometimes the agent is rather unlikely, as when an evil person’s deeds bring about something beneficial. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, explains that such was the case when Rivkah’s family bestowed upon her a blessing that in fact alluded to Israel’s ultimate elevation over the other nations, and Hashem’s ultimate kingship over all the world.
In the good old days, Forest Hills, New York - where I grew up between 1939 and 1951 - was a shtetl for assimilated American Jews. Like my parents, all our neighbors were American-born offspring of Eastern European immigrants. A generation removed from their identity conflicts, we children knew that Forest Hills, liberated from Judaism, was our promised land.