Re: Death of Sarah

Florence Amit (amit-1@actcom.co.il)
Mon, 03 Feb 1997 01:10:29 +0200

Yehoshua Kahan wrote:
>to be kind rather than cruel is not the goal of life...
>Evidently... it was a good thing that Abraham did by being
>prepared to slaughter his son, and to this day, we often call upon that in
>our prayers as a reason why G-d should have mercy on us. So, perhaps when
>Sarah heard that her husband was prepared to obey G-d to the extent of
>slaughtering his son, and with him destroying everything he had worked so
>many years for, and her son was prepared to be slaughtered simply because a
>true prophet told him that this was G-d's Will, even without hearing it
>from G-d Himself...perhaps she was then assured that she had finished her
>job in terms of helping her husband and son reach the highest pinnacles of
>self-nullification before the Will of G-d, and could now leave this world.
>I think that is the logic behind the attitude you disagreed with, and it
>is, I think, a good logic.

The point of view that Yehoshua Kahan put forth , seems to me too
simplistic. Even if I write in terms of piety I can still find Biblical
justifications for an approach that I can adhere to and which I think can
be put forth as reasonable. G-d has various ways to carry out his plan for
this world. When He delivered Israel from Pharaoh he did this by steps and
not directly. Indirection is a feasible method to use when people have free
will. Also obedience to G-d or even gods in itself is not specific to our
own history and people. It has been pretty general through out the world.
But what did the Kadosh Baruch Hu do with this piety of Abraham? How did he
turn it into an unforgettable experience that would usher in a new
relationship between the generations and change sacrifice to be something
that would not transgress His own Law to come? He put Abraham to the test
brought him to the brink, psychologically, so that his salvation from that
unwelcome act would be always vivid and never repeated. In Shakespeare's
"King Lear" we have Edgar leading his blind and melancholy father, as if to
an abyss so that when "saved" he would make no further attempt at suicide.
The miracle is not Abraham's obedience or Sarah's compliance but that the
Shem brings His people, step by step to a higher morality through being
obedient. Obedience without morality , as I wrote before , makes me shiver.
There have been experiments in this generation to distance morality from
our actions. As a Jew who is in mind of our rich and sometimes painful
heritage and our Torah I feel that we must never forget our values.

Florence Amit
Email: amit-1@actcom.co.il
Phone: 972 76278843