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Chayei Sarah 5780

Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18 )

by Kalman Packouz

SHALOM  - My name is Rabbi Yitzchak Zweig and it is with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you of the untimely passing of my beloved friend and mentor, Rabbi Kalman Packouz, HaRav Kalman Moshe ben Reuven Avigdor,of blessed memory.

Rabbi Packouz passed away Friday night, under remarkable circumstances which I will share below. Rabbi Packouz has asked me to carry on his monumental work of bringing the light of the Almighty to the world and returning His children to their spiritual roots. I am humbled by the magnitude of this responsibility.

I was fortunate enough to have a standing breakfast meeting with him every week for the last twenty-seven years. Even if one of us was out of town we often had a "Skype" meeting. He frequently told me that I knew more about him than he knew himself. There is not enough space here to share what an extraordinary human being my beloved friend was. If you want to watch the eulogies at his funeral you may do so here:

I last saw him this past Wednesday - he was extremely uncomfortable and had pretty much stopped eating. He told me when I saw him that he "just wanted it to be over already." I stayed for an hour, talked to him, and tried to make him a little more comfortable. When I called on Thursday, he was unable to speak and he was in a lot of pain. By Friday, he was listless and his eyes were mostly closed the entire day.

Friday night, at about 8:30, his wife Shoshana went to check on him. As she stood there he opened his eyes and stared to a spot over her shoulder and uttered his first words in days (and his last words on this earth) - "Hi Ma!" (his mother had passed away this past April). He then opened his eyes really wide and they began to shine with an intense light. Startled, his wife turned around, for she was sure that his eyes were reflecting some light behind her - but when she looked there was none.

He then passed away. His pure soul leaving his physical body and returning to his Maker was evidenced by the bright light in his eyes - and he was met on his final journey by his mother who came to accompany him. Rabbi Kalman Packouz, of blessed memory, was a true tzaddik - a righteous individual - and the world is a far poorer place without him.

He was deeply devoted to his loyal "Shabbat Shalom Fax of Life" readers; so much so that he even began to prepare his "final fax." He had mentioned it to me several months ago and it took some time to find it in his vast archives. Never one to mince words, it was aptly titled: "Death." As you will see - he didn't get very far, but I wish to be faithful to his final wishes so I am copying what he wrote:


GOOD MORNING!  By the time you read this, I will be dead. I've always loved that opening line -- full of power, no beating around the bush ... right to the punch line! However, my wife never had the same affinity for it. I asked her, "So, how should I start out, 'It was a dark and stormy night?'"


With Deep Appreciation to My Wife


All that I have accomplished I owe to her.
My eternal gratitude for raising our family.
Everything she does is done with love, caring, and joy.
My thanks to the Almighty that she married me.



May his memory be a blessing for the entirety of the Jewish people who he loved so dearly.

Shabbat Shalom Weekly can now be reached at Anyone who wishes to send a note of condolence to the family during shiva may send it to there and we will be sure that they receive it.


Torah Portion of the Week

Chayei Sarah, Genesis 23:1 - 25:18

Sarah dies at the age of 127. Avraham purchases a burial place for her in Hebron in the cave of Ma'arat HaMachpela. Avraham sends his servant, Eliezer, back to the "old country," his birthplace Charan, to find a wife for Yitzhak (Isaac). Eliezer makes what appear to be very strange conditions for the matrimonial candidate to fulfill in order to qualify for Yitzhak. Rivka (Rebecca) unknowingly meets the conditions. Eliezer succeeds in getting familial approval, though they were not too keen about Rivka leaving her native land.

Avraham marries Keturah and fathers six more sons. He sends them east (with the secrets of mysticism) before he dies at 175. Yitzhak and Ishmael bury Avraham near Sarah in the Ma'arat HaMachpela, the cave Avraham purchased in Hebron to bury Sarah. The portion ends with the listing of Ishmael's 12 sons and Ishmael dying at age 137.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Eliezer arrives in Charan. Rivka gives him water to drink. The Torah states:

"And she finished giving him to drink. And she said, 'Also for your camels I will draw water until they finish drinking'" (Genesis 24:19).

Why does the Torah specify that she will "draw water" rather than writing, "I will give the camels to drink"?

The great Spanish Rabbi, the Abarbanel, tells us that Rivka was meticulously careful not to say anything that would be untrue. Therefore, she said she would draw water, as if to say, "I don't know for sure if they will drink or not, but I will draw water for them. If they want to, they can drink."

Rabbi Shmuel Walkin adds that we see here how careful we should be to keep away from saying anything untrue. He cites as an example Rabbi Refael of Bershid who was always very careful to refrain from saying anything that was untrue. One day he entered his home while it was raining outside. When asked if it was still raining, he replied, "When I was outside it was raining." He did not want to mislead in case it had stopped raining from the time he entered his home.

This may seem to be ridiculous or inconsequential. However, if a person is careful with keeping to the truth in such instances, he will definitely be careful in more important matters. On the other hand, if a person is careless with the truth, he can even be tempted to lie in major ways!


Candle Lighting Times

November 22
(or go to

Jerusalem 4:01
Guatemala 5:12 - Hong Kong 5:21 - Honolulu 5:30
J'Burg 6:16 - London 4:28 - Los Angeles 5:49
Melbourne 7:59 - Mexico City 5:39 - Miami 5:17
New York 4:15 - Singapore 6:34 - Toronto 5:12

Quote of the Week

Never leave a loved one or a friend
without saying, "I love you!"
--  Rabbi Kalman Packouz



In Loving Memory of

Kalman Moshe ben
Reuven Avigdor



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