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Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Mother's Answer

The "men in the Beit Medrash" have spent thousands of years pondering the relation/connection between the "Akeidat Yitzchak," the Sacrifce of Isaac (who wasn't actually sacrificed) and his mother, Sarah's death. You can read the Bible here and here.


Verse 9: They came to the place that El-him had designated to him. Avraham built the altar there, and arranged the wood. He bound his son Yitzchok, and placed him on the altar, on top of the wood.
Verse 1: The lifetime of Sarah consisted of one hundred years, twenty years and seven years. [These were] the years of Sarah's life.
Verse 2: Sarah died in Kiryas Arba, which is Chevron, in the land of Canaan. Avraham came to eulogize Sarah and to weep for her.

Rashi: To eulogize Sarah and to weep for her.
The narrative of Sarah's death immediately follows the Akeidah [binding] of Yitzchok because as a result of the news of the Akeidah, that her son had been prepared for slaughter and had almost been slaughtered, her soul departed from her and she died.
7


Some say she died from fear that Abraham would sacrifice, Isaac, her only son, and others say that she was afraid that Abraham was too "soft" and refuse G-d's commandments. As I was reading the parsha today, I came to a different conclusion. Sara know what g-d had commanded. She simply prayed to G-d saying:
"G-d, please take me, instead."


And that's what happened. A mother's love saved her son. Compare that with Hagar and Ishmael!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is quite a radical (though) interesting interpretation. Are you suggesting that G-d actually did want Avraham to sacrifice Isaac after all? Further, if this is the case, what does it say about Avraham that he didn't offer up himself (or another animal)?

I have trouble accepting this position ... I think it goes too far against the fundamental tenets of the religion. Sorry!

Batya said...

In what does it go against religion? That a parent should protect its young and G-d promised Avraham that a great nation would come via Yitzchak?

Anonymous said...

You seem to be suggesting that G-d actually did want Yitzchak sacrificed but took Sarah instead. The akeidah was a testimony to the fact that G-d does not want us to sacrifice children or any innocent people (this was a polytheistic practice at the time). Our G-d is a just G-d.

Batya said...

No, it's possible that He wanted Avraham to question/argue/offer his life instead. Then he would have had been able to spend his "retirement" with Sarah.

Neil Harris said...

Interesting idea. It makes sense. Sara's level of ne'vuah was up there.

Batya said...

nh, thanks
shabbat shalom

Anonymous said...

A comment by Rav Pam z"l regarding the redundancy of the first verse of Chaye Sara--"And the life of Sara was...the years of Sara's life".
He comments:
We've heard the midrash blaming Satan for Sara's premature death. Had he kept quiet, she'd be alive, doing more chesed, performing more mitzvot, etc. How sad that she died early.
But then Rav Pam points to the redundancy of the verse and explains--
It was time for Sara to die, her allotted time on earth had run its course. That's why the verse ends 'these were her years'--to tell us that was her limit.
[He goes on to say that we should remember this when we hear of others who died "too soon"--we should not agonize with 'if only he'd seen the doctor sooner', 'if only I'd listened to her when she said..." and especially not at a shiva. We do not understand Hashem's ways, and we cannot calculate how or when we will meet our end.] ad kan l'shono.


Now, take that notion, and add to it the midrash that David tried to delay his death until after Shabbat so as not to lead to any chillul Shabbat or bizayon ha'met.
And Hashem says, 'no--your kingship cannot impinge on Shlomo's'. So David says, 'take me before Shabbat'--and Hashem responds--'no, one day of your Tehillim trumps all the korbanot of Shlomo in the BH"M.'

Given these approaches of Chazal, do you seriously believe that Hashem would take Sara 'early', or as an exchange for Yitzchak?

Batya said...

Thanks for your comment.
I've re-read everything and don't see any place where I said that she died "too soon."

Even Rashi connects the "test," (Yitzchak wasn't sacrificed) with Sarah's death.

Many women who suffer from infertility use the term being "complete" to describe what having a child will do for them.

We don't know G-d's plans, but it can be that He wanted Sarah to be willing to die so that her only son could live. That made her life complete.