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Thought for the Day: Amein; Kein Ya'aseh HaShem!

I had in mind to write something else today, but I was learning an essential Ramban (ie, I know a beautiful pshat in this one) with chavrusa in Petach Tikvah over Skype.  As we got to the essential point, the Skype connection went wonky (that's South African for "the connection quality deteriorated to the point of unusablity") and we had to quit for this week.  As Robin would say: Holy Hashgacha Pratis, Batman;  HaShem must want me to make this today's blog entry.

The Ramban is on the incident of the angels visiting Avraham Avinu, telling him that Sara will have a son by the same time next year, Sara laughing, HaShem telling Avraham, and ends with Avraham giving mussar to Sara.  The Ramban starts by declaring his astonishment that this righteous prophetess (Sara Imeinu) could deny what was told to a prophet (Avraham Avinu) by HaShem (the One and Only).  Morever, why in the world would she not believe HaShem's angels??

The Ramban therefore concludes that we need to reconsider, so he goes back to look at the situation.  Sara was not with Avraham and probably hadn't even seen the angels.  As far as she knew these were three ovdei avoda zara (recall that Avraham had them wash their feet to remove the sand that the locals worshiped) that her husband -- the well know tzadik and ba'al chesed -- had invited in for a meal.  She hears one of them say, "by next year Sara will have a son!".  Have you ever been to the arab shuk?  Have you heard they way they sing your praises about what a discerning eye you have for their quality merchandise and what a shrewd negotiator you are?  Of course she laughed; they were being ridiculous even for arabs in the shuk!

So, then; what's the problem?  Sara and Avraham had lived their whole lives in service of HaShem.  They had davened constantly for the one thing they were lacking to complete their service: a son.  When Sara heard that comment, as ridiculous as it was given the source, she should have said, "Amein; kein ya'aseh HaShem!" -- Amein; may it be His Will.  That is why HaShem told Avraham to speak with Sara.  Avraham told her that he knew, by n'vu'ah, that she had let the ridiculousness of the situation cloud her judgement and forget to turn her desires into a prayer.  Sara accepted the mussar.

Why did HaShem have Avraham speak to Sara instead of revealing the truth to her Himself?  She was, after all, greater than Avraham in n'vu'ah.  Perhaps because of the laughter she needed an extra z'chus to merit the fulfillment of the prophecy.  The silent acceptance of that mussar from her loving husband that was all she needed.  This last bit is my own thought.  You are welcome to come up with your own ideas.  I, however, know I need work on accepting mussar from my loving wife; so I'll take that lesson from here.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll get better at it.  Amein; kein ya'aseh HaShem.

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