Shavua tov. Last Shabbat morning we celebrated with Sam Greif and his family as Sam was called to Torah. We were, with the amazing technological wizardry of Zoom, able to bring Rabbi Moch into our room. Sam had begun his studies for his Bar Mitzvah with Rabbi Moch. But life rarely moves in a straight line, and finally at 17, Sam recited his Blessings for Torah and gave a remarkably moving d’var. Rabbi Moch was able to speak to Sam as well. Mazal tov to the Greif family.
Even as we open the pages of this parashah we read the counting’s of Sarah’s life. Her lifetime was one hundred years, twenty years, and seven years; the years of Sarah’s life. From these countings we can learn much – for example, how old Yitzhak was when he, as a grown man, willingly traveled with his father towards Mount Moriah. As I was coming home from shul on Saturday afternoon I listened to an interview about how carbon dating was used to ascertain with great exactitude the date that Norse peoples arrived on the Rock, otherwise known as Newfoundland, and used their metal tools to carve into trees. Because of particular bursts of solar carbon energies, experts were able to date the Norse arrival to exactly one thousand years ago this year. Carbon dating thus gives us a window into history, unavailable to earlier historians.
We count miles, we count minutes, we count days – we are all a counting people. By doing so we bring the concepts of measurement of time and of space into our lives. Rabbi Moch was able to be in the room with us in a split second; my friend lives 15 minutes away, we need ten Jews for a minyan. We are not a happenstance people – I don’t think many of us are. In our measurings, we know something about who we are. In these counting of years – of inner reflections or of external understandings, of the life of Sarah, of a coming of age we gauge our own beginnings, our own endings. May you all have long life and many countings,