Sara the Prophetess
Student Summaries of Sichot of the Roshei Yeshiva
Yeshivat Har Etzion
Please pray for a refuah sheleimah for HaTinok ben Nomi veNaftali.
PARASHAT CHAYEI SARA
SICHA OF HARAV YEHUDA AMITAL SHLITA
Sara the Prophetess
Adapted by Shaul Barth
Translated by Kaeren Fish
"Sara's life was a hundred years and twenty years and seven years, the years of Sara's life" (Bereishit 23:1). The Midrash (Bereishit Rabba 58:1) quotes a verse in connection with this: The Lord knows the days of the wholehearted (temimim), and their inheritance shall be forever (Tehillim 37:18). The Midrash comments, "This refers to Sara, who was whole (temima) in her actions; R. Yochanan said: She was as innocent (temima) as a calf." What can this mean?
In recounting the episode of the expulsion of Hagar, God tells Avraham: "Whatever Sara tells you listen to her" (Bereishit 21:12), and the Sages deduce that she was greater than Avraham in prophecy (Midrash Tanchuma, Shemot 1). However, if we look at the preceding parashot we find that, in contrast to the many occasions on which God spoke with Avraham, there is no record of Him speaking with Sara. The one occasion when it seems that God is talking to her is the subject of debate among the commentators. After Sara hears that a son will be born to her and Avraham, she laughs, at which point "God said to Avraham: 'Why then does Sara laugh, saying: Shall I then truly give birth, although I am old?' And Sara said to Avraham: 'I did not laugh' for she was afraid, but he said to her: 'No, for you laughed'" (Bereishit 18:13-15). The literal text would seem to suggest that it was Avraham who chided Sara, saying, "No, for you laughed," but some of the commentators maintain that these words are spoken by God. Nevertheless, even assuming that God speaks to Sara in this instance, it is difficult to understand on what basis she is regarded as being a greater prophet than Avraham. Are these three words, which she hears from God, more important than the great promises that God conveys to Avraham?
believe that the Sages have a completely different message in mind. They are
telling us that Sara was closer to God specifically by virtue of her simple
innocence, her pure human senses. When she sees what influence Yishmael is
I was a child, there was a saying in
(This sicha was delivered at seuda shelishit, Shabbat Parashat Chayei Sara 5765 .)