The Abduction of Sarah

How to Study Torah—Lech Lecha

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The Abduction of Sarah: How to Study Torah—Lech Lecha

When Abraham feared that the Egyptians would kill him in order to take his wife, he asked her to pretend that she was his sister. We examine the meaning of the verse (Genesis 12:13), “Say that you are my sister, so that they will favor me.”
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Sarah's Abduction by Pharaoh, Lech-Lecha

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Jennifer Galit Chantrill Brisbane October 24, 2015

The gifts Thank you for this interesting insights. This is an extraordinary story.The woman Sarai was not young, even considering the lifespan was different to the current era; She must have been extraordinarily beautiful, after all beauty is not uncommon; She may have had some really distinguishing feature that caused such interest, maybe blonde hair! People do not pay big money for that which is common. In a country where dowries/bride prices were part of the culture, the gifts were likely the lead up to such a transaction if Sarai was thought to be available, and were part of the 'bidding' war for a rare gem. Reply

John Robertson Altona November 9, 2022
in response to Jennifer Galit Chantrill:

I see beauty not in blond hair but some inner glow of a good soul.The beauty does not fade with age.Children often have this glow but often it fades.Some retain this inner sweetness no matter what they encounter in life.I as a gentile see this in G_dly people.I love the Jewish people and their nefesh. Reply

Bonnie November 9, 2011

PS: For instance, can you imagine the kind of life Lot's daughters lead before their encounter with the angel?

And Lot's wife???? You have to think when she "turned back" was she turning 'away' from Lot's offer of another life somewhere else with him?
Did she see him as too corrupted for marriage? There are other thoughts too.
Many things are not said...but one can and should investigate life as real. Reply

Anonymous November 9, 2011

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan It is often noted that there is a great deal of understanding to be obtains from the quiet acquiesence when little is said but much stated.
Take the few words of Lot, offering his daughters to the mob. It tells of the lengthy descent of a culture into immoral standards and how easy it is for a decent man to aqcquiesence and tolerate.
We can see this today clearly in the world. This is something that is very often repeated in the Scriptures. Often there are things which are just plain understood with little enough said.
Sometimes one has to just look around today to see what was going on in the past.

binh tran fremont, ca November 8, 2011

The way to study Torah Thank You Rabbi Kaplan, I always like your teachings base on how you bring different commentaries looks at different angles then ties all in, its great. Thank You. Reply

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan Thornhill, Ontario November 7, 2011

Response to comments #'s 3&4 With all due respect to the writer; what is your opinion based on? Exhaustive research on the Torah sources available to us or a bias based on the social ethos of our modern age?! Study of Torah is not the conjecturing of one's imagination or the superimposition of anybody's predisposition. Rather it is entailed of setting one's own ideas aside an opening oneself to the well of divinely inspired wisdom. In addition, the fact that the actual versus do not convey Sara's words (but rather her quiet acquiescence) unlike other verses where her part of the conversation is recorded in detail rule out your suggestion. Once again, allow me to respectfully firmly state that all of the Torah sources (available to me) suggest quite to the contrary of your (IMHO) emotively based supposition. Reply

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan Thornhill, Ontario November 7, 2011

Response to comment #1 Whilst it may be true that their society allowed marital bonds to be established between siblings, the point is that Abraham stated he was a sibling NOT the husband. That way eliminating him would not make her available. In other words; the question is not if they could have been married, but rather if they were in fact husband-and-wife. Hope that helps clarify… Reply

Anonymous Hampstead, NC November 2, 2011

The Test If we truly believe in God and all of his promises, we have to believe all can be accomplished within the rules He has established. I believe the true test is to follow the rules regardless of fear and God's blessings will follow.
When put to the test Abram lied. The result was great wealth. How can this be compared to the wealth of today?
The tests are not for God. They are to show us who we really are. Reply

Virginia Powers November 2, 2011

Insightful teaching Thank you for this insightful look into the Torah. I am not Jewish, but am studying the Torah. Not only is Avram's trust clear but so is Sarai's.
You uphold the integrity of both and the faithfulness of HaShem to them. Reply

Abigail Montreal, Canada November 2, 2011

Yesher koach Rabbi,
This was brilliant. Thank you so much.
I am going to write a blog based on your talk because it stimulated me to share with my friends and acquaintances on several issues.
We read this parsha in our morning minyan and you answered all the questions that were on my mind and expanded on them. I will send you the reference.

May you have a good week. Reply

Bonnie November 2, 2011

I guess what I am saying is that the story focused on Abraham will always be contentious. Maybe that is because he is not the focus we should learn from?

There is so much more, when looking at Sarah. Reply

Bonnie November 2, 2011

There is much study about Abraham and his encounter with Egypt over his wife.

I think the focus and power of the story is Sarah. By looking at the story from Abraham ideals, we get much contention.

But by focusing on the 'power' given to Sarah, we start to see a different picture. We see the mother of the nation as shrewd, intelligent, adaptable, quick thinking and filled with compassion and empathy.
The L-rd is with her. It was her who did the handling of the situation. Her who brought about the enriched ending safely.

Yet, it is not her who gets the credit rightly. Reply

Hershel Tzuker Scranton, PA November 1, 2011

Genesis 12:13 Why didnt the Rebbi (teacher) in cheder (school) explain the verses the way you did? Your research into the sources and commentaries and brilliant understanding of the bal haturim commentary help shed much light on this seemingly understandable, yet morally complicated exchange. Of course, this class reveals how really complicated the situation was. Reply

Sara G Pepperell, MA November 1, 2011

Incest in Egypt What about the fact that Egyptians traditionally accepted marriage between siblings? In other words, Sarah could still have been Avraham's mate even if she was his sister, according to the culture of the Egyptians. Did the Egyptians know that other cultures didn't act in the same way?

Thank you as always for a wonderful shiur! Reply

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