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    Just a minute, Sarah – Chayyei Sarah

    Sarah & Abraham, by James Tissot

    Sarah & Abraham, by James Tissot

    Sarah, what right did you have to die just when you were becoming interesting?

    You figure in a sheaf of Biblical stories, but hardly ever do we come to grips with you as an individual.

    You are Abraham’s wife, Pharaoh’s romantic interest, Isaac’s mother, Hagar’s rival… but it’s all about you in relationships with others, not you in your own right.

    Were you really beautiful, in appearance, in character? Were you really pious and God-fearing, thinking of God, meditating on eternity? Were you really clever, a good organiser, an efficient homemaker?

    Did the Midrash get it right when it said your tent had a light burning from one Erev Shabbat to the next, that you were not only hospitable but brought the women under the wings of the Divine Presence, that you wanted Isaac to study in the yeshivah of Shem and Ever?

    Did Abraham value your wisdom and hearken to your voice? Did you willingly allow Isaac to go with his father, even if he never came back?

    Did your tears flow in private, so that neither your husband or son would realise how torn apart you were?

    When you died, was it old age or the shock of events? When Abraham came to mourn for you and weep, was he weeping for himself, now alone and bereft, or for you, such a woman of worth whose going made the world poorer?

    Sarah, don’t leave yet before we have worked out your preciousness and personality!

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