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    Sarah & the women – Chayyei Sarah

    Abraham & Sarah, by James Tissot c. 1896

    Abraham & Sarah, by James Tissot c. 1896

    It’s all very well to accuse Judaism of being patriarchal, but the fact is that tradition has a matriarchal theme that comes to the fore when parents bless their daughters on Erev Shabbat, saying, “May God make you like Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah”.

    Sarah heads the list. Her name literally means “princess”, so that she shares equal status with Abraham, whom the Bible calls a prince.

    The sages call her a prophet and say that her gift of prophecy was greater than Abraham, able to see right into the spirit of a person or situation.

    When Abraham sought a wife for Isaac, he looked for a woman with Sarah’s qualities.

    She was beautiful all her life, in character as well as appearance; she was sinless, determined to live in harmony with God, her husband and the world.

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