Home Subscribe Services Support Us
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vayera

To Found a World

By Rabbi Label Lam

And they said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" And he said, "Behold in the tent." And he said, "I will surely return to you at this time next year, and behold, your wife Sarah will have a son." And Sarah heard from the entrance of the tent, and it was behind him.

Behold in the tent: She is modest. (Rashi)

Why did the angel that was dialoguing with Avraham have to ask about Sara before announcing the great news that Sarah was to have a child next year at this time? Why was that a crucial inquiry? What does it add to know that Sarah was a modest woman at that very moment?

I once heard from Rabbi Shimshon Pincus ztl. that the Vilna Gaon wrote on his wife’s tombstone, “She left no peers in her generation!”Asked Reb Shimshon, “We have no record of her Torah thoughts or teachings! In which way did she excel all others in the generation? Was her kugel or kishke so superior?” How do understand the statement of the Vilna Gaon regarding his deceased wife? Rabbi Shimshon Pincus explained with a verse in Tehillim that we say on Shabbos, “A righteous person (A Tzadik) sprouts like a (Tamar) Palm tree.” How does a person sprout like a Tamar- a Palm tree? The unique quality of a Palm tree is that it only goes as high as it is deep! If you see a Palm tree tower 100 feet high that means that its roots are reaching 100 feet downward. The Vilna Gaon was saying that he was only able to reach the heights of Torah that he did because his wife had that very same depth, albeit hidden from view, and undetectable.

Now we can understand something valuable about Avraham and Sarah and the need of the angel to ask of her whereabouts exactly at that moment? The world was destroyed and scattered because of rampant selfishness and if a new world order was to be established, it must be founded on kindliness, as King David says, “I said the world is founded on kindliness!”The only question is who will be worthy to be that solid foundation on which the world will be built.

The angels stumbled upon the tent of Avraham and in spite of his infirmities and the extreme heat he puts on a major display of kindliness, with loads of food pouring out of the tent and his running back and forth and waiting upon them. For certain this must be the home that can serve as the corner stone for a new and more hopeful future. Yet there remains one question, one untested assumption. Maybe this was all one big show and Avraham was interested in impressing people like an actor! Appearances can be deceiving. How do we know he’s for real?

They ask Avraham, “Where is Sarah your wife?” He answers, “She’s in the tent.” Rashi explains that she was a modest woman! Modest doesn’t only mean that she covered her elbows and knees but it does mean that that she understands and appreciates the value of things without the need for external recognition and applause. After that superior demo of kindliness by Avraham and the abundance of food production, maybe the women of the house wants to come out for a curtsey and a bow, but no, she’s a modest woman. She does not need credit from without because her true locus of self-worth is within. She is that hidden root of the Tamar tree that feeds the quiet energy to her husband so that his limbs can reach out to the world.

No wonder when we sing the praise of a Jewish woman, Eishes Chayal we say, “Her husband is known in the gates when he sits amongst the elders. We are praising the woman of valor! Why do we switch now to her husband? Because behind every truly great man is a truly valorous woman. This was therefore proof positive of a reliable home on which to found a world.

DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and



View Complete List

Home is Where the Bais Din Is
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

Of Rocks and Hundred Dollar Bills
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

Life Is Not Cheap
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5769

> Looking to the Future
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

The Essence of Jewish History
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

Less is More
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770


Mankind's Song
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

Month of Elul: The Power of Repentance
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

If the Shoe Fits Much Better…
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Critical Followers
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

Little Things Make a Difference
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

Rabbi Berel Wein - 5755

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Say It with Chumros
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Judgement on Perceptions
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

Tell It To The Judge
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Investment Strategy
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

Project Genesis Home

Torah Portion

Jewish Law



Learn the Basics




Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base


About Us

Contact Us

Free Book on Geulah! Home Copyright Information