Chayei Sarah: Chapter 15

"Four hundred shekels"


The secret of what becomes of the body and soul at death, is explored by Rabbi Yosi bar Yehuda and Rabbi Chiya. When soul and body are parted, the angel Dumah becomes custodian of the body, which must show its worthiness to receive the reward of 400 worlds. According to the rabbis, this worthiness takes the form of a deep longing for purity and righteousness; desiring those qualities makes us worthy. Those who did not feel this yearning will not be resurrected on the Day of Reckoning.


The Kabbalists have long taught that the Light of the Creator reveals itself only to genuine seekers of the truth. Through our desire for righteousness, we earn the Light and become active participants in the process of Creation. Many people turn to the Creator only when tragedy or hardship strikes. Longing for the Light is easily kindled during moments of adversity. But when times are good, we tend to forget our spiritual aspirations. And as desire for the Light ceases, periods of prosperity inevitably come to an end. This passage increases and sustains our yearning for the Light so that it illuminates our lives without end.