Where is Sarah? A Halachic Question!

B”H

Rabbi … :

Shalom.

I came across this article “The Tapestry of Moshiach and Ruth” wherein the author, Greg Killian posits that [from this weeks parsha],

Avraham is asked a halachic question when he is asked “Where is Sarah …?” B’rashith (Genesis) 18.9

Anyways, as it pertains to this week’s parsha, I thought you might like to read some of it. I know you are very busy.

(I take exception to the author saying Lot was saved only because of mercy, and not because of justice when in fact, middah keneged middah, Lot provided Hospitality to the Angels. Other than that, I find the article to be woven together very nicely….)

To quote: (Emphasis mine) –

Why did HaShem and the three angels want to know Sarah’s whereabouts?

We have HaShem and three of HaShem’s mightiest angels who are sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to hear the answer to a most important halachic question. Does Avraham understand that he is rendering an halachic, legal, decision that will affect humanity for a the rest of time?

Avraham tells HaShem and these mighty angels that, “Sarah is the tent”!

This simple answer will affect humanity for the rest of time. What does it mean? Why is this question, and its answer, so important that it is the first priority for HaShem and His three mighty angels, on their visit to Avraham?

It is important to note that Avraham is going to plead with HaShem to save the people of Sodom and to save Lot in Bereshit (Genesis) 18:23-33. Avraham was genuinely concerned for Lot and the people of the cities associated with Sodom.

Did Lot deserve to be saved? The text tells us that he was saved only because “G-d remembered Avraham and He sent Lot out of the upheaval when He overturned the cities in which Lot lived.” (Ber. 19:29) The merit of Avraham saved Lot. Lot’s salvation was an act of mercy, not justice. Furthermore, for Lot to be saved required a much greater degree of divine intervention. If not for Lot, G-d would have simply sent Gavriel to destroy the city.

Avraham’s pleading managed to only save Lot and His family.

Because the Moabites were ungrateful and inhospitable, HaShem tells us that a Moabite cannot enter the congregation of Israel. This means that no Moabite can marry a Jew. This poses a big problem!

The problem is that Ruth is a Moabite and she is an integral part of the Messianic line. If she is disqualified from marrying a Jew, then her son, Oved, cannot be Jewish. His son, Yishai, can not be a Jew. His son, David, cannot be a Jew and therefore cannot be King in Israel. His descendent, Mashiach, is not Jewish and cannot be King. He cannot be Mashiach! This is a big problem!

The book of Ruth was written to help address this problem. Never the less, without the oral law this is a problem which can not be resolved.

Yevamoth 76b

— Because it is written, And Saul clad David with his apparel. being of the same size as his, and about Saul it is written, From his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people. Doeg the Edomite then said to him,[15] ‘Instead of enquiring whether he is fit to be king or not, enquire rather whether he is permitted to enter the assembly or not’! ‘What is the reason’?[16] ‘Because he is descended from Ruth the Moabitess’. Said Abner to him,[17] ‘We learned: An Ammonite, but not an Ammonitess; A Moabite, but not a Moabitess![18] But in that case[19] a bastard[20] would’ imply: But not a female bastard?’ — ‘It is written mamzer [Which implies] anyone objectionable’. ‘Does then[21] Egyptian exclude the Egyptian woman’? — ‘Here it is different, since the reason for the Scriptural text is explicitly stated: Because they met you not with bread and with water; it is customary for a man to meet [wayfarers]; It is not, however, customary for a woman to meet [them]’.[22]

Yevamoth 69a For a Master said: An Ammonite,[29] but not an Ammonitess; a Moabite,[30] but not a Moabitess.[31]

Yevamoth 77a As, however, Doeg submitted to them all those objections[32] and they eventually remained silent, he desired to make a public announcement against him.[33] Presently [an incident occurred]: Now Amasa was the son of a man, whose name was Ithna the Israelite, that went in to Abigal the daughter of Nahash,[34] but elsewhere it is written, Jether the Ishmaelite! This teaches, Raba explained, that he girded on his sword like an Ishmaelite and exclaimed, ‘Whosoever will not obey the following halachah will be stabbed with the sword; I have this tradition from the Beth din of Samuel the Ramathite: An Ammonite but not an Ammonitess; A Moabite, but not a Moabitess’! Could he, however, be trusted? Surely R. Abba stated in the name of Rab: Whenever a learned man gives directions[35] on a point of law, and such a point comes up [for a practical decision], he is obeyed if his statement was made before the event; but if it was not so made he is not obeyed! Here the case was different, since Samuel and his Beth din were still living.

The difficulty,[36] however, still remains! — The following interpretation was given: All glorious is the king’s daughter within.[37] In the West[38] it was explained. others quote it in the name of R. Isaac: Scripture said, And they said unto him: ‘Where is Sarah thy wife?’ etc.[39]

From here we see that Doeg did his utmost to disqualify David from being king by proving that David was not Jewish! Amasa defended David’s Jewishness by indicating that Shmuel (Samual) the prophet had declared, prophetically, that Devearim 23:3-4 applied to the men and not to the women. This meant that Ruth, as a Moabitess, was NOT excluded from the congregation of Israel and that her descendents were kosher Jews. This is only recorded in the oral law (Talmud). It is not in the Torah. This teaches us that King David and Mashiach are legitimate only because of the oral law.

The Talmud provides the logic for why Moabite woman are kosher and Moabite men are un-kosher. The Talmud tells us that the Moabite women are kosher because they do not go out of the home to provide hospitality. It is not their job. It was the responsibility of the Moabite men to provide hospitality to the Jews. But, how did our Sages determine that women stay at home and do not provide hospitality outside the home?

The answer to this question takes us back to the question that the angels asked Avraham: Where is Sarah? Their Halachic question was: Do women provide hospitality outside or inside the home?

Avraham provided a legal ruling when he said that Sarah was in the tent. His ruling was that women are responsible for hospitality inside the home and NOT outside!

Because of this ruling, Gavriel determined that Lot must be delivered from Sodom because from him would descend Ruth the Moabitess. Thus we understand that Gavriel did not proceed directly to Sodom because he needed to know whether Lot should be saved when he destroyed Sodom. He could only learn this when Avraham made his ruling.

In addition, Shmuel the prophet would rule that Ruth was able to enter the congregation of Israel because of Avraham’s ruling. Because Avraham said that Sarah was “in the tent”, Ruth the Moabitess was able to enter the congregation and become a progenitor of the Messianic line.

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