Chayei Sarah 6th aliyah
November 22, 2019 (24 Chesvan 5780)
by Tzvi Schnee
“And Abraham expired, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.”
– Genesis 25:8, JPS 1917 Tanach
This phrase, “gathered to his people” (vayei’asef el amayv) is likened by Sforno to “the bundle of life:” “the bundle of souls who are part of the life after death, all of whom the righteous of the various generations who were like him in lifestyle” (Sforno, commentary on Genesis 25:8, sefaria.org).
Sforno continues, “there are all kinds of different spiritual levels among the righteous souls, not all attained the same level of righteousness while on earth although all of them share the experience of enjoying eternal life” (Sforno, commentary on Genesis 25:8, sefaria.org).
The “bundle of life” (biz’ror hachayim) that he refers to is found in reference to a prayer expressing the intent of Abigail, David’s future wife, for the eternal well-being of David:
“Yet the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the L-RD thy G-d”
– Samuel 25:29, JPS 1917 Tanach