It says in Bereishis 23:2, “Sarah died in Kiryat Arba, which is in Chevron, in the land of Canaan; and Avraham came to eulogize Sarah and to cry over her.” It seems from the Passuk that Avraham did the opposite of what most people do. Most people first cry over the Niftar and then give their Hesped.
Why did Avraham do it in this order? Another question is why is the letter כ in the word ולבכתה written in a small size?
Maavor Yabok answers the question with the following explanation. The eulogy for the deceased serves an important purpose. The reason we have Hespedim is because it is very crucial for the person who was Niftar that the people listening as well as crying are opening the Gate of Tears, while redirecting the Din away from the Niftar. The Gemara in Berachos 32B says that Hashem never closes the Gate of Tears. In truth, the focus for the crying and the sadness that one is feeling should be focused on the spiritual loss of the person’s Neshama and not on the physical loss of the person’s body.
The Zera Shimshon says that the Torah wrote the letter כ small in the middle of the word to show that Avraham held back from crying over of the physical and only exhibited sadness regarding the loss of Sarah’s spiritual essence as well as his partner in life in making the world realize that Hashem is in the world, which was the subject of his eulogy.
There happens to be another explanation of why the Torah does not mention Avraham Avinu crying for his wife before the Hesped. We all know that when one hears about a tragic loss of a loved one, that tears come to their eyes automatically as this is a normal human reaction to a loss or tragedy. When Avraham Avinu learned that his beloved wife Sarah had passed away, he too had this reaction. This type of reaction was not considered an act of crying or mourning the death of Sarah Imenu, for this is what happens to everyone who hears tragic news. What the Torah is doing is explaining that Avraham Avinu’s reaction and the fact that he cried for his wife was something much greater and more meaningful than the natural reaction that every individual has when he/she is confronting a loss.
It is for this very reason that the Torah uses the word ולבכתה is to let all of us know that even after the days of mourning were over Avraham Avinu continued to cry for Sarah Imeinu every time he recalled all her good deeds, involvement in her household, and her fear of Hashem. It was this type of memory that would cause his eyes to well up with tears as well as when anyone mentioned her name, this even after the funeral, Hespedim and burial.
The question is, can we say the same thing about ourselves? We should also take this prime example from Avraham Avinu that this is how one should react when one hears about another Yid passing. Whether you knew the person or not, it is a loss for all Klal Yisroel as each one of us is an important component that makes up our Nation. With this we can connect ourselves with one another and reach a level of Achdus and herald the Final Geulah.