Weekly Manna – Parashat Chayei Sarah

The midrash (Parashat Chayei Sarah 60:16) states that as long as Sarah was alive the Presence of Hashem rested above her home, her doors were open wide to guests, her bread was blessed, and the light from her Shabbat candles burned continuously from Erev Shabbat to Erev Shabbat.  When she passed away, these four blessings ceased and only returned when Yitzchak brought Rivkah into her tent as his wife.

Rav Samson Raphael Hircsh gleans from here that the Presence and blessings of Hashem and the atmosphere of chesed and tranquility in the home are all direct products of the women residing within it. (Collected writings of Rav Hircsh, Vol. 8, Pg. 102)

The Talmud in Shabbat 118b tells us that Rav Yose would refer to his wife as his “home”, since it is the wife who sets the atmosphere of the home and it is she who teaches her family to live a life of Torah and mitzvot.

It is our job as godly women to make every effort to ensure that our homes are an oasis of peace, tranquility and harmony.  Sadly, we can also be responsible for bringing tension, confusion and anger into our homes, through our actions and words, chaz v’shalom!

We have a big job ladies!

If we do not experience a home full of shalom on a daily basis, then apparently we have no one to blame but ourselves.  I know what you’re probably thinking……..that’s easier said than done!  Indeed, it is!  It takes diligent effort and much self-sacrifice!

So how do we create an oasis in our homes?  By understanding the most important mitzvah according to the Rambam……….the belief in Hashem, and by remembering, as we recite daily, “shehakol nih’yeh biD’varo” (everything exists because of the Word of Hashem).   The Kotzker Rebbe explained:

“Everything puzzling and confusing that people see is called Hashem’s back.  No one can see His face, where everything is harmonious”.

If we truly believe in Hashem and in His Divine Providence, then everything in this world, and all the events that occur in it must ultimately contribute to our good.

“Gam Zu L’Tovah”  (this too is for the good)!

Hashem created us only in order to give of His goodness.  Which implies to me, that if I view any situation as “bad”, it is because I am viewing the situation through my finite senses.  Things look bad to me, or they make me feel bad.  But is that really the truth of the matter?  Maybe the situation is simply a tap on the shoulder from our loving Creator.  If my children or my husband are upsetting me, and I react negatively to what I view as a “bad” situation, I will completely disrupt the peace and harmony in my home.  But if I instead use the situation to thank Hashem for my annoying children or husband, and pray for their well-being, and for more personal strength to better handle the stressful job of managing a household, maybe the outcome will be completely different.  Give it a try.

REMEMBER:  Many people do not have anyone to annoy them.  Have you thanked G-d lately for your family and friends?

If we are women of G-d, then we should be able to maintain a spirit of peace and harmony in our homes on a regular basis.  Yes, there will probably be times when we just flat out “loose it”, we are human after all, but it should not be the norm.  If our family sees us consistently angry, sad, depressed or frazzled, what will be their perception of Hashem? There is no incentive for anyone to pursue a relationship with Hashem, if those who present themselves as already in relationship with Him live messy lives.  Our homes, our lives, and our attitudes should be noticeably different than the rest of the world.  If they’re not, the problem is with us!

The challenge for us, as women in particular, is to learn to control our emotions and take time out to reflect on the message Hashem is sending our way through the current situation.  If someone is annoying us, maybe the message is that we are not giving them enough of our time or attention.   Or maybe as His daughter, we are annoying Hashem.  How we react in the situation, may determine how our Father reacts to us.

As women, we have a tendency to want to control our situation.  What we fail sometimes to realize, is that we are controlling it.  Even when it’s messy!  We are the only one who can change the environment.  The energy we create, positive or negative, is the fragrance distributed throughout our home.

“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than in a house in common with a contentious woman.”  Mishlei 21:9

I pray the next time we find ourselves in a less than ideal situation, we stop before we react, and take a moment to reflect on how we can handle things without loosing it.  Stop and pray.  Just watch what happens to the atmosphere around you.  If we consciously make an effort to create an atmosphere of chesed and tranquility in our home, we too like our Mother Sarah, can cause the Presence of Hashem to rest above our home.

“Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace, and pursue it.”  Tehillim 34:15

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Rhonda

About the author
Rhonda has traveled from Utah to Toronto in what seemed to be a season of wanderlusting, which ended up being a relocation in the making. Using her life experiences, Rhonda teaches from the heart and is a perfect example of what it means to follow your heart and dedicate yourself to your spiritual community. Join Rhonda every week as she gives us our Weekly Manna on the Torah Portion for Women.