Death Wish

In Parshat Chayei Sara, there is a great deal of discussion regarding the small letter ״כ״ in the word, לבכותה. It is describing the mourning, eulogizing, and crying, after the tragic death of our Mother Sara.

The Baal Haturim gives the most bolden explanation to this unusual word in the Torah. He wrote that Avraham Avinu was not permitted to fully mourn for his beloved wife. This is because she fell into the category of one who has committed suicide.

He was referring to the time when Sara asked for “Din,” judgement, between her and Avraham’s maidservant, Hagar. She told Avraham that Hashem should judge between her and him. She wanted Hagar sent away, and her husband disagreed. Ultimately, Hashem agreed with Sara.

Nevertheless, the Baal Haturim insisted that asking for judgement, is actually, a death wish. This is the reason for the small letter ״כ״ and why Avraham could not fully mourn.

We must be so careful not to judge others. We must learn to give the benefit of the doubt in all situations. We must not count other people’s money, which is also a form of judging.

The last thing we could possibly want is for Divine judgement. If we judge others, G-d will judge us, and nobody could stand before His judgement-not even our saintly Mother Sara, was able to escape such judgement.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at