An old colloquial saying goes something like, “Behind every good man is a great woman.” Not to debate the merits of this statement or the patriarchal roots of it, in the story of Abraham and Sarah, too often the spotlight is shined solely on Abraham, the first to ‘believe’ God in the scriptures. Sarah is given the nod of following her husband into the desert, struggling with infertility, welcoming a child with holy laughter, and too often painted as the supporting cast to the great drama.
Yet, if we read the scriptures well and investigate the Talmud, a Jewish text compiled by the sages of that tradition that expands on stories in the scriptures, we discover this woman was more than just a supporting cast member to Abraham’s tale. Instead, she has immense faith and lessons to teach if we are willing to hear.
Just as Abraham is now known as the Father of many People, Sarah can be given the moniker of Mother of many Peoples—Jews and Christians. It is through her womb that Isaac is given life and through his genealogy that our faith ancestors are rooted. Most often referred to by her final name, Sarah, the name itself grants us insight. This final name means princess. She becomes, late in life, the joy of the people and a leader in her own right. God shines through her to be a beacon to all people who would follow.
Throughout this week, we’ll dive into her story and discover that her faith, and life, is a testament to God at work, even when it seems the characters our are pushed into the shadows. That grants us all hope, that even if we aren’t the ones standing in the spotlight, roles and impact are no less great or diminished, but instead, bless our world in their own unique ways!