Kristallnacht, which literally means, “the night of broken glass,” occurred on the night of November 9, 1938, and marks the beginning of the Holocaust. On Kristallnacht, Jewish homes, synagogues, and businesses were destroyed by the Nazis and the streets in Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe were covered with glass from the shattered windows of synagogues, Jewish homes, and businesses.
In the Jewish prayer book, the siddur, there are references to an “end of days”: the Temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt, the dead who were righteous will be resurrected, and a figure known as the Messiah, or in Hebrew the Moshiach, will restore Israel to new-found glory.
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.