Genesis Chapter 21
|1And the Lord remembered Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as He had spoken.|
And the Lord remembered Sarah, etc.: (B.K 92a) This section was placed next to [the preceding section] to teach you that whoever begs for mercy for his friend, when he needs the same thing, he is answered first, for it is said (verse 17) “And Abraham prayed, etc.,” and immediately following it, “And the Lord remembered Sarah,” i.e., He had already remembered her before He healed Abimelech. —
remembered Sarah as He had said: Concerning [the promise of] conception. —
as He had spoken: Concerning [the promise of] birth. Now where is [the expression] “saying” and where is [the expression] “speaking” ? “Saying” (אִמִירה) is mentioned (above 17:19):“And God said (וַיֹאמֶר) : Indeed, your wife Sarah, etc…”“Speaking” (דִבוּר) [is mentioned] (above 15:1):“The word of (דְבַר) the Lord came to Abram,” in the Covenant Between the Parts, where it is stated (ibid. 4):“This one [Eliezer] will not inherit you, etc.” and He brought forth the heir from Sarah.
Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Kamma
Raba said to Rabbah b. Mari: Whence can be derived the lesson taught by our Rabbis that one who solicits mercy for his fellow while he himself is in need of the same thing, [will be answered first]? — He replied: As it is written: And the Lord changed the fortune of Job when he prayed for his friends.17 He said to him: You say it is from that text, but I say it is from this text: ‘And Abraham prayed unto God and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maidservants,’18 and immediately after it Says: And the Lord remembered Sarah as he had said, etc.,19 [i.e.] as Abraham had [prayed and] said regarding Abimelech.
WHAT’S BOTHERING RASHI
WHAT IS RASHI SAYING AND WHY?
This comment is based on several principles of interpretation, which must be explained. One principle is that when two sections of the Torah are placed in juxtaposition, it means that there is some meaningful connection between the two sections. The second principle is one of Biblical grammar. The past tense is used in Biblical Hebrew in two different ways. One is, for example, “vayipakod” which means “And he remembered” It has the vav hahipuch, the conversive vav, in front. It is the simple past tense. The other form is what we have in our verse, “V’Hashem pakad.” This is past perfect, meaning Hashem had remembered. This implies that He had remembered even before the last recorded incident. So in our verse the Torah tells us that God had remembered (enabled Sarah to conceive) even before the last recorded event – which was Avimelech (and his wife) being cured, meaning conceiving (verse 20:18). This came after Abraham prayed for him (verse 17). So the sequence of events is: (1) Abraham prayed for Avimelech’s cure, (2) Sarah conceived and (3) Avimelech’s family was cured (their women conceived).
Sarah is first identified as b’ulat baal (21.3), then as eshet haIsh (21.7) in the context of navi – a virtuous wife of a prophet; and eshet Avraham (21.18)
Brashith 20.10 “And Abimelech said unto Abraham: ‘What sawest thou, that thou hast [said this about her – Sarah] done this thing?’ ”
21.7 RASHI – because he is a prophet: And he knows that you did not touch her; therefore,“ he will pray for you.” – [from Tan. Buber, Vayera 25]
had Abimelech “touched her” he and his house would have died by the sword of Avraham (Chapter 14.12, 16) – but because of verses 18.17-19 (The promised covenant- “17 And the LORD said: Shall I hide that which I will do to Abraham seeing … 19 … to the end that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him.’ .”) Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham – all of this story of the difficulties in the matter of Isaac’s conception is contrasted with Lot being rescued (Chapter 14.12, 16); and the daughters of Lot conceiving as contrasted with Sarah, a barren, aged woman of great beauty 12.11 (spirituality – a prophetess and see RASHI on 20.18 because of Sarah: Heb. עַל דְּבַר, lit., by the word of Sarah. Through the words of Sarah. — [from Gen. Rabbah 52:13] the wombs of Abimelech’s House were “closed up;”) being taken by Abimelech… There is a level of spirituality and innocense that Sarah acquired by being the virtuous wife of a prophet even in the context of being a captive wife. That spirituality and innocense is singled out to Sarah’s merit extending down through the generations of the seed of Isaac (In laughter shall thy seed be called) – 21.6 And Sarah said [prophesied]: ‘God hath made laughter for me [for my generations]; every one that heareth will laugh on account of me.’- Joel Chapter 3
and I would that you all were prophets B’midbar (Numbers) 11.29
Ramban says the true redemption is for the Jews to be in their own place and reach the spiritual level of their Forefathers.
Parshat Pekudei (Exodus 38:21-40:38) The true spiritual goal, according to the Ramban, is having God live with us day in and day out.
Here, HaShem “redeemed” Sarah as it were, because Abimelech “took her” – where was Avraham, that he allowed Sarah to be taken?
He was praying – living with HaShem day in and day out –
21.2 And Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him.
here we see pechad (21.1) is related to what was spoken of concerning Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and the seed of Jacob, the OATH in response to his question,”how shall I know it” [that I and my seed – descendants will inherit the land of Israel Genesis 15:8! The first responsa as it were….
16And to Sarah he said, “Behold I have given a thousand pieces of silver to your brother; behold it is to you a covering of the eyes for all who are with you, and with all you shall contend.”
Rashi on verse 20.16 you shall contend: You shall have the opportunity to contend and to show these evident facts. Wherever the word הוֹכָחָה appears, it refers to the clarification of matters, and in Old French, esprover, to prove, clarify. (That is aprover below 31:37, to clarify, decide, define.) Onkelos translated it in a different manner, and the language of the verse fits in with the Targum in the following manner: “Behold it will be for you a covering of honor on account of my eyes, which gazed upon you and upon all who are with you.” Therefore, he translated it:“And I saw you and all who are with you.” There is a Midrashic interpretation, but I have explained what fits the language of the verse.
20.16 And unto Sarah he said: ‘Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver; behold, it is for thee a covering of the eyes to all that are with thee; and before all men thou art righted.’ (JPS Mechon Mamre)
[“thus she was vindicated.”] Source: Bible Hub
Genesis Rabbah - And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. R. Jose said : To the voice of the Holy Spirit, as you read, Now therefore hearken unto the voice of the words of the Lord (1 Sam. xv, 1).
And Abraham said of Sarah his wife
Here he did not ask her permission, but [said that she was his sister] forcibly, against her will, because she had already been taken to Pharaoh’s house on account of this.–[from Gen. Rabbah ad loc.]
A difficulty – He [Avraham] already had her permission to say about her, “she is my sister!”
“Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.” ”
“When G-D caused me to wander from my father’s house… at every place whither we shall come….”
Sarah agreed to say of Avraham, “at every place” – “he is my brother;” this was her kindness [Chesed] to Avraham ….May the LORD judge
LIII. 6-7] MIDRASH RABBAH 6. R. Isaac said: It is written, And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then
shall she be cleared, and shall conceive seed (Num. v, 28). 1 Then this woman [Sarah] who had entered the houses of Pharaoh and Abimelech and yet emerged undefiled — surely it was but right that she should be remembered. Why did Avraham make a covenant with Abimelech? 21.22-34 Brashith (Genesis)22 "And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phicol the captain of his host spoke unto Abraham, saying: 'God is with thee in all that thou doest.'"
the covenant Avraham made with Abimelech was because Avraham “preached the fear of HaShem” to Abimelech (20.11) and because HaShem visited in a dream (& healed) the house of Abimelech – Brashith (Genesis) 20.17, 18 and Abimelech recognized ‘God is with thee in all that thou doest.’
RASHI – God is with you: Because they saw that he had come out of the region of Sodom unscathed, and that he had fought with the kings and they fell into his hand, and that his wife was remembered [with a child] in his old age. — [from Gen. Rabbah 54:2]
Avinu Avraham recognized HaShem’s hand in all these events, and recognized that Sarah was a prophetess! see RASHI on 20.18 because of Sarah: Heb. עַל דְּבַר, lit., by the word of Sarah. Through the words of Sarah. — [from Gen. Rabbah 52:13]
21.23″…but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.’
21.25 “And Abraham reproved וְהוֹכִחַ [judged] Abimelech because of the well of water, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away.”
20.16 you shall contend: You shall have the opportunity to contend and to show these evident facts. Wherever the word הוֹכָחָה appears, it refers to the clarification of matters, and in Old French, esprover, to prove, clarify. (That is aprover below 31:37, to clarify, decide, define.)
31.37 “Whereas thou hast felt about all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? Set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge וְיוֹכִיחוּ betwixt us two.”
Brashith (Genesis) 12.11
“And he said to Sarah his wife: ‘Behold, now I know that you are a beautiful woman to look upon’“. (Gen. 12:11) Until then Abraham did not know that she was a “beautiful woman to look upon”? This has already been explained (Baba Batra 15a) that until then he did not look at Sarah’s physical form, because of their excessive modesty with each other. But when he “came near to arrive in Egypt,” she became revealed, and he saw her.
Another explanation for why he was aware [that she was beautiful] since most people’s appearance suffers from the hardship of the journey, but Sarah remained beautiful and her appearance did not change. Another explanation of the words, “Behold, now I know…” is that Abraham saw the Shechinah [the image of G‑d] accompanying Sarah. For this reason, Abraham felt confident [that no bad would befall her] and said: “She is my sister.”
The phrase “she is my sister” has two meanings. The first is literal [Sarah was the daughter of his brother and thus called “sister”]. The second is figurative, as in the verse, “Say to wisdom; You are my Sister” (Proverbs 7:4) [for the Shechinah is called the “Lower Wisdom” and “my Sister”]. It also is written: “Please say that you are my Sister.” (Gen. 12:13)