YU RIETS Israel KollelArutz Sheva brings you the weekly parsha sheet "Divrei Azriel" put out by Yeshiva University REITS kollel in Israel.
The Midrash (Bereishit Rabbah 58:3) relates that Rabbi Akiva was once teaching a class and his students were dozing off. In order to wake them up, he began to speak about the number 127, as follows:
The first pasuk, verse, in Parashat Chaye Sara tells us that Sara Imenu (Sarah the Matriarch) lived to the age of 127, while in Megillat Esther we read that Esther ruled over 127 provinces.
Rabbi Akiva told his students that this was not coincidental. He summarized the connection: "let Esther, a descendant of Sara Imenu who lived for 127 years, rule over 127 provinces." In other words, Esther's rise to power was on account of the merit of her ancestor Sara, who lived to the age of 127. What exactly is the connection between Sara's age at her death and the number of provinces under Esther's rule, and why exactly did Rabbi Akiva choose this insight as a way of waking up his drowsy students
The Chiddushai Hareim explains that Rabbi Akiva was gently reprimanding his students for sleeping through the class. We can calculate that for each year of Sara's life, Esther was granted power over an entire province. In effect: for each week that Sara lived, Estehr was granted rule over an entire city, and for each hour she merited a village. If we break it down even further, we find that for every second of her life, we could say that Sara was rewarded with an entire city block over which her descendant, Esther, would rule!
Rabbi Akiva sought to impress upon his students the value, potential and significance of every moment of life. Sara received immense reward for each and every second of her life because she devoted all her time and energy to the service of Hashem. This was the subtle message that Rabbi Akiva, in his pedagogical brilliance, conveyed to his sleepy students.
We cannot waste time, our most valuable resource - not even a minute! Each moment is precious and filled with great potential. What a shame it would be to waste our time in a shiur by sleeping.
Every moment of life is a precious, invaluable commodity - and should be taken advantage of in full.