Chayei Sarah: Chapter 4

He who is small and he who is great


The inner meaning of Sarah's age, as cited in the Torah, relates to the importance of approaching life with reverence and humility - for The Creator delights in those who transcend pride and self-interest, raising them in stature, whereas He diminishes those who inflate themselves with self-importance and vanity. Greatness in the world above is attained by behaving with humility and selflessness here in the physical realm.


When people succumb to the demands of their ego, preoccupying themselves with affairs in the material world, they receive immediate, but short-lived gratification and rewards. Their self-love deepens and their hearts harden. In contrast, spiritual accomplishments do not gratify the ego. For this reason, humility and selflessness are more difficult to kindle, though their rewards are far greater and long-lasting. Kabbalah teaches that the eternal World to Come is not somewhere in the future, but is readily attainable here and now, according to our degree of spiritual transformation. A reading of this section helps us to resist pride and arrogance by raising our awareness of their consequences in the physical and spiritual realms.