Hayei Sara: Sara's Stand

 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



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.