April 13, 2024 |

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Vayera (2)

When Sarah is told she will have a child in her old age she laughs and says, “Now that I am withered, am I to have enjoyment – with my husband so old?” (Gen 18:12). When God quotes this to Abraham, He puts it this way, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I in truth bear a child, old as I am?’” (18:13) Since God does not work for (insert cable news channel you wish to demonize here) why does He misquote Sarah? The rabbis reading Parshah Va-Yera have long been fascinated by this since it’s obvious that what Sarah said and what God says Sarah said are two different things. The difference is that Sarah mocks Abraham’s old age whereas what Abraham hears is Sarah making fun of herself. It’s a significant difference, but also beside the point. Sarah is amazed at the prospect of motherhood late in life, and that is what God shares with Abraham. To tell him that she also thinks he’s a relic is an example of telling the truth for no purpose except to cause harm. Abraham has no need to know this, and it doesn’t change anything. Sometimes, as they say, discretion is the better part of valor.


Daniel M. Kimmel

Joined: October 2, 2007

Daniel M. Kimmel is a Boston area film critic, lecturer and author. He does these weekly mini-lessons for the Mishkan Tefila Brotherhood's newsletter. You are free to use them for similar purposes.

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Rabbi Perry Netter

Joined: June 21, 2011

Rabbi Perry Netter is rabbi at Temple Beth Tzedek in Amherst (Buffalo) NY. He is the author of Divorce Is a Mitzvah and the father of five. All the rest is commentary.

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