Sarah Abram, for going against the traditional idea

Sarah is one of the most important woman
not only in Judaism but also in the world. Although she is not covered in depth
in A History of the World’s Religion book,
Sarai is the first of the four matriarchs who eventually became Sarah who was the
mother of all. Sarah’s beginning, pregnancy and death showed her complete
commitment to her husband, Abraham, and faithfulness to God.

To begin with, Sarai chose her own fate
to become the wife of Abraham who was actually her uncle. People often described
Sarai as kind, hospitable and beautiful woman. According to Talmud, she was one
of the four most beautiful women in the world. As she was born in very prestigious
family, she could have married someone as prestigious as her; however, she
eventually chose a man who was known to be a rebel, Abram, for going against
the traditional idea of polytheism. Sarai coming from a matriarchal society and
being able to choose her own husband, it was significant that she chose Abram. This
proved that she was the woman who independently chose her own future and fully
commit to it. As a result, she left her wealthy family and became a nomad to
travel with Abraham to look for the new land. She knew her duties as a wife
before these duties were stated by Moses or in the Torah. Abraham became an honorable
leader by depending on his wife when he need an assistance and by respecting
her and her prophetic abilities. While Abraham spread God’s words, Sarai was
not just wife of Abraham who only did housework and support her husband. When
Abraham taught monotheism to men, she came forward as well and influenced many
women. She sometimes acted as the head of the household when Abraham left to
rescue his nephew. Through many years of traveling, she went through many
struggles but she was able to overcome through the belief in God. In Egypt, Sarai
was abducted and given to Pharaoh who forcefully tried to possess her. Because
she sincerely prayed and God answered by sending an angel with a whip and
punishing Pharaoh and his people with a plague which eventually led Pharaoh to
let her go and give his daughter, Hagar, as Sarai’s personal maid as. An
extreme wealth followed after Sarai and Abraham left Egypt indicating that the
spiritual power had transferred to wealth through Sarah. Through this incident,
Abraham saw a deep connection between Sarai and God. Later, the king of the Philistines
took her as his wife and then again, God appeared and Sarai was returned to
Abraham. Her purity and presence was so precious that it was vigorously protected
by God.

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The barrenness of Sarai represented Sarai’s
heartbreaking and shameful times yet at the end, she managed to raise a remarkable
heir of Abram. Although Sarai was pure and completely faithful to God, God had
made her barren which indicated a punishment for Sarai. She never turned away
from God, however. Instead, she put down her pride and made her servant, Hagar,
have Abram’s son to continue his legacy. Sarai was an ideal maternal figure
because according to Josephus, Sarai
showed an unlimited ability as a mother and truly loved Ishmael. All the good deeds
of Sarai led to the turning point of her life. God finally rewarded Abram and
Sarai by giving Abram his new name Abraham and giving Sarai her new name Sarah,
which meant “the princess”. With a spiritual capacity given by God, she finally
gives birth at an age of ninety years old. Many people including Abraham and
Sarah were doubtful of this possibility but was God showing Sarah that she was
truly worthy and that she was able to overpower the limitations of aging. When
Hagar showed arrogance and disrespect and Ishmael caused trouble, she felt the
need to send Hagar and Ishmael away. She was afraid to see Ishmael’s growing jealousy
and resentment towards Isaac. Although Abraham was hesitant, Sarah was firm
with her decision but never acted it out until she had the permission from Abraham.

When Abraham asked God for advice with the conflict between Sarah and Hagar,
God told Abraham “whatever Sarai tells you to do, listen to her (Gen. 22:12)” giving
her right to compensate for her own mistake. Moreover, God trusted her
judgement because God had given a greater prophetic ability than Abraham which meant
that Sarai was as respectable and powerful as Abraham. She not only showed a
responsibility for her actions by sending Hagar and Ishmael away to bring back
peace in the household but also a generosity by bringing back Hagar after she
had repented. Like how God showed Abraham countless starts and told him that that
is how many children he will have, Sarah did become the mother of all through
her practices and teachings.

The death of Sarah was tragic but it was ultimately
glorious because her teachings continued on. Although Abraham and Sarah were
chosen by God to be the leaders of many men and women, they were not perfect. God
wanted to test Abraham to see if he deserves to be the leader of two nations. Because
Abraham had to prove his faithfulness to God, he tried to kill his very own son
Isaac as God ordered. Because Isaac knew how much Sarah cared for him, he asks
his father not to tell Sarah about his death. God recognized Abraham’s
faithfulness and stopped him from doing so by saying “do not hurt the boy in
any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld even
your beloved son from me (Gen. 22:12)”. However, Satan went to Sarah told her
about the plan and this hurt Sarah so much that she died of shock at an age of
hundred-twenty-seven. She was the first of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs to be
buried in the Cave of Machpelah. Everyone showed a great respect towards Sarah
by coming to her funeral. Abraham was able to endure all the hardships throughout
his life but he could not endure Sarah’s death. As a result, he suddenly “aged”
which revealed that all these years, Sarah kept her husband sane sheltering him
from all the evil and the disaster. Sarah was only woman with the age of death
recorded in the book which indicates her great achievements throughout her
life. Unlike how people usually perceive death, death of Sarah was not the end.

Sarah’s burial was known as “the life of Sarah” because her teaching was even more
important after her death. Her contribution and investment on her son Isaac
helped to continue peace and holiness at their home. Also, Rebecca who was
Isaac’s wife, carried on Sarah’s influences.

Sarah is a significant woman
figure because she was known to be independent and responsible of her actions. She
went against the notion that women were less worthy and less influential than
men. As a mother and leader of many, everybody called Sarah “a woman of worth”.

Torah says when she was hundred years old, she was as pure of sin as a woman of
twenty years old and when she was twenty years old, she was a beautiful as an
innocent seven years old. As a woman who kept her innocence, loyalty and bravery,
she should be more emphasized and respected in the studies of Judaism.