SARAH, formerly SARAI – Part 2
In our first meditation, we pondered the faith of Sarah as well as her trust in her husband. (See below) Today we want to focus on her faith and her mission in life.
Clearly she was chosen to be the wife of a very special man, the first Ivri, Hebrew. The word Ivri means ‘the one who has crossed over’. It doesn’t require imagination to recognize that not only did Avram ‘cross over’ from his former life; so did his wife. If he was the first Ivri, then she was the first Ivria.
Every man with a specialized calling from God needs a wife who will believe in him, stand with him and strengthen him as he seeks to fulfill that calling.
In Genesis 11:30 we read: And Sarai was barren; she did not have a child.
The deeper meaning of this verse is that Sarai was detached from the things of this earth; she loved her family but was not bound to them. ‘She had no child’ is interpreted symbolically to mean that she had nothing hindering her from following God and her husband with all her heart; no distraction, no other responsibility. That does not take away from the obvious meaning of the verse but simply adds a depth of understanding beyond the literal.
She was the perfect candidate for the man who would depart from the society of the day, travel to an unknown destination and found a nation at God’s direction. Other women may not have been up to the challenge.
Picture Sarai, a woman with spiritual insight, who knows she is to be a part of a unique mission with her husband, to spread monotheism throughout the world, and to eventually start a new nation which will be a light unto the others. And she is barren.
What did God have in mind making our matriarch, the quintessential mother, childless for most of her life?
Was it for the purpose of giving Avram and Sarai the freedom to devote themselves to their mission of teaching the world about the One True God?
The souls that they made in Charan – they brought them under the wings of the Shechinah (Divine Presence). Avraham converted the men and Sarah converted the women. (Rashi, Genesis 12:5)
One reason that God gives us ‘lackings’ is to drive us to seek Him with all our heart and soul. He longs for an intimate relationship with each of us and that requires our investment of time to be in His presence.
Sarah must have developed a very strong sense of inner belief and trust in God, in order to accept a situation whereby she was going to embark on a wandering, sterile lifestyle with Avraham – while believing that somehow, out there in the future, there would be children, a nation, prosperity and blessing.
Avraham himself had been directly promised these three blessings when God commanded him to go forth into the unknown:
And I will make you a great nation. (Genesis 12:2)
Rashi: Normally, travels lessen three things: fertility, reputation and economic status. I therefore promise you all these blessings.
Sarah had never actually received these promises. She had to believe Avraham and trust that it would be so.
What does this say to you?