Hayei Sara: Sara's Stand

Breaking news (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Breaking news
(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
 This week''s parsha – entitled ''The Life of Sara'' – ironically opens with the news of her death. And yet there is no explicit mention of why she died. The commentators jump to fill in the blank. Rashi himself notes that the proximity of her demise to the binding of Isaac gives a hint as to the cause of her death. Midrashim further elaborate by sharing stories of how Sara splits with her soul (parcha nishmata) in shocked reaction to the happenings on Mount Moriah.
 
The Aish Kodesh, writing so poignantly from the Warsaw Ghetto – takes these Midrashim even further. He, sitting in the fast accumulating ashes of the Holocaust, portrays Sara''s death as a protest. A protest against a God who could call for such a horrific sacrifice. Though Avraham is classically seen as the archetype of one who questions God, Sara here not only questions God but rebukes and defies God through her death, her act of self-sacrifice.
 
The Aish Kodesh''s commentary on Sara''s morbid defiance becomes his own fist-shaking protest to God in the face of the Holocaust. This poem is born from the stirring words of the Aish Kodesh, may his memory be for a blessing, along with all those who have died for the sake of higher righteousness.
 
 
Sara''s Stand
 
Sara sat
by the stream
of events
which words would
later write as history.
 
Which took husband/son
some morning
on a G-d appointed journey.
Left her all alone
and buried
neath the dunams
of her rage.
 
Mumbling with the voice
of a silent woman
in a wordy book.
 
Who gestured mute
and shook
the page
that sentenced
sons away.
 
But how to wail
a protest
with no mouthpiece
and no speech?
 
How to scribe a message
with white fire
but no ink?
 
This became her solemn study,
how to make her silence speak.
 
While the horror of Moriah
boiled blindness to her eyes
her hands lost grip in helplessness
and cripple caught her thighs.
 
Her spirit split and circled
in the fire between the lines.
And from her lips there bled
rebuke to God on high.
 
A higher calling in her triumphed
- led her to her mountain''s ledge
bound her on an altar of defiance
''neath a dagger''s glaring edge.
 
And no angel held her hand back
and no thicket caught a ram
the text did not enshrine her
with compassionate command.
 
But rather
held her tongue
and shroud her
for her morbid
final stand.
 
A fury blatant
in complaint,
a protest ripe with rage.
 
She''d contest,
with all her strength and breath
beneath the bloody blade.
 
For written in the empty space
between her husband''s deeds
Sara screamed in deft defiance
of divine decree:
 
How dare a righteous G-d command
Or a father thus comply
Or the very son - whom I have mothered -
Upon an altar
Lie?”
 
Sara stood -
a broken spirit stronger
a protest pressing bone,
 
I will not sit
to sorrow”
stepped to fire
and was gone.
 
She would not sit
to sorrow
stepped to fire
and was gone.