Parashat Chayei Sara

woman in pink and white plaid dress standing on green grass field near body of water

This parashah begins with the tale of the Death of the Sarah Matriarch. But there’s something interesting about the way the Torah counts the years it lived. instead of saying it was 127, is written she lived 100 years, and 20 years, and seven years, and the question is obvious: what does the Torah want to teach us when she separate their years? That Sarah didn’t waste any, every year, day, hour, second, she squeezed them to the fullest, she did what she had to do, the moment she had to do it, and the best way she could do it: fulfil her spiritual mission in this world, transcend, help, influence, inspire. There was once a traveler who came to a city and went through the cemetery. What he saw was surprising and shocking, all the graveyards indicated that people had died early on, Moshe was three years old, Yosef was five, David was only one year old when he left this world. What a terrible thing to do! Surely some plague killed the people of the city, he thought. When he left the cemetery, he met an old man, and he explained to him that in that city they did not write in the tombstones the physiological age of the people, but the age at which they had perpetuated their acts, helping their neighbour, and acquiring wisdom to connect with the transcendental. The Wise say that there are some people who are dead in life, and there are dead people who are still alive. What’s the explanation for this? Because you can be alive technically, your body works well, thanks to God, you can feed yourself, sleep, work, but you haven’t started living yet, because you haven’t looked for a way to connect with the transcendental dimension. But the people who have done so are still with us, for their actions, their teachings and their influence will inspire us forever.

A Freedom in Thought study has made the following calculation: (based on average life in U.S.A., 79 years), if at those years we take away the necessary tasks like sleeping, working, eating… we will have slept for a third of our lives, so we would have been left for only 53 years. The study time is about 3 years. With an average working life of 45 years and a workday of 40 hours per week, we employ about 12 years working. If we take the time away from housework, like cooking or cleaning, it’s 10 percent of our total life, which is about eight years. We take care of our children or family, and we use 2.5 percent of our lives, which is about two more years. We also spent 16 years of our entire life in retirement. This means that we have 12 years left to be “totally free”, but: how do we use that time? Young adults spend about 5 hours a day with a mobile phone or tablet, which is equivalent to 15 years of their lives, so the calculation would already be negative: this means that they are deprived of sleep hours or other tasks to be able to use it on their phones. But even if you’re not so dependent on your smartphone, 2.5 hours a day on average are used to watch TV. This means that, out of our 12 years of “freedom,” seven of us passed them in front of the TV. And you, what do you do with your time?

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