Parashat Lech L’cha tells us the story of the very beginning of Jewish history, when God says to Abraham and Sarah that they are to “go forth” and begin the story of Jewish commitment.
Parashat Vayeira starts with a cliffhanger. We’re told that God appeared before Abraham, but that’s it—we never find out where God appears or what God says. Instead, we get three desert wanderers, who have important news for Abraham. So, where is God in this story?
Translated, Chayei Sarah means “the life of Sarah.” It’s an odd title for a parashah that opens with Sarah’s death, but even though this parashah doesn’t detail Sarah’s life, it does teach us about the kind of life she lived.
The idea that one is Jewish if either parent is Jewish and one was raised with Judaism. This contrasts with the traditional idea of matrilineal descent, in which one is Jewish if one’s mother is/was Jewish.
“Congregation” or “community.”
“Completion.” Usually refers to the completion of the study of a book of Torah, Mishnah, or other study text. The occasion is often accompanied by a festive meal.
Literally, “Blessed is the Judge of Truth;” Customary words one recites upon hearing of a person’s death.
Literally, “honoring the deceased.”
Literally, “to accompany.” To accompany the dead to their final resting place is a great mitzvah and shows true honor for the dead because the deceased cannot respond to those who perform this mitzvah.