Tuesday, November 3, 2009


“Then Sarah denied, saying, ‘I laughed not; for she feared.’ ‘And he said, no, you did laugh’” (ibid. 18:15). Ohr HaChayim comments on the words: “for she feared,” explaining that the heart of the faithful servant will be filled with fear even over an accidental transgression. Nevertheless, all the commentaries are astonished that the righteous Sarah would deny the words of G-d. According to Sfat Emet, Sarah had already repaired the sin of her laughter, erasing it by means of her immediate repentance. However, only repentance out of love and not out of fear transforms the transgression into merit. At first, Sarah had only repented out of fear, as it states, “for she feared.” Therefore, Avraham reprimanded her saying, “but you did laugh,” meaning that a different quality of repentance was still necessary in order to transform the blemish of having laughed to the extent that it could become a merit. The indication that Sarah succeeded in reaching this level of repentance is expressed in the name of Yitzchak, which means “he will laugh.” When Sarah gave him this name, she happily exclaimed, “G-d has made laughter for me” (ibid. 21:6). By returning to Hashem in perfect love, she was able to transform and raise up the quality of her laughter to become a source of blessing for all.

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