Mitzvos for Misses and Mrs. – Parashat Chayei Sarah

“…. And Yitzchak brought her to the tent of his mother Sarah, and he wedded Rivka and she became his wife, and he loved her. And Yitzchak was comforted after losing his mother….” – Bereishit 24:67

״…..ויביאה יצחק האהלה שרה אמו ויקח את רבקה ותהי לו לאשה ויאהבה וינחם יצחק אחרי אמו….״ – בראשית כד, סז

He brought her to the tent, and beheld that she was alike his mother Sarah… As long as Sarah was alive, the candle burned from one Shabbos eve to the next, blessing was found in the dough, and a cloud hovered on the tent. These things ceased when Sarah died, but when Rivka arrived they resumed. —Rashi

sarah's tent

A cloud began hovering over the tent immediately upon Rivka’s arrival. When she settled in and began going about her daily activities, Yitzchak noticed a special blessing in the food she prepared. When the candles that Rivka lit before Shabbos were still burning a full week later, Yitzchak became fully confident that Rivka was an heir to his mother’s saintliness, as all the miracles associated with Sarah had been restored.

Strangely, however, Rashi lists these miracles in the exact opposite sequence then the order in which Yitzchak noticed them! In doing so, Rashi alludes to the mitzvosassociated with each of these miracles, and the order in which every Jewish woman, as an heiress of the matriarchs, begins to observe them.

The commentaries explain that the cloud hovering on the tent represented the Shechina, the Divine Presence, which dwells in homes where the laws maintaining the purity of family life are observed. One begins to observe this mitzvah only once she has married, Rashi therefore mentions this mitzvah last. Before it, Rashi tells of the blessing found in Sarah and Rivkah’s dough, which was due to their observance of the Mitzvah of separating challah from the dough they prepared. This miracle was mentioned second, for a girl can begin fulfilling the Mitzvah associated with it even before she starts a family of her own, when she is but old to help her mother with the household chores. But long before she is capable of helping in the home, a girl can and should already observe the Mitzvah associated with the first miracle that Rashi describes: the Mitzvah of lighting candles for Shabbos. Rashi thereby emphasizes that like Rivkah who lit candles for Shabbos at the age of three, every Jewish girl should be trained in this Mitzvah even before her Bas Mitzvah, from as soon as she can absorb the idea of lighting the home for Shabbos.

—Likutei Sichos vol. 15, pp. 170-173

 

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