Parshat Vayera contains the stories of at least three women. The first is the story of Lot’s wife, who fled S’dom before it was destroyed. She was instructed not to look back, yet the midrash says that she turned back in order to check on her daughters and consequently turned into a pillar of salt.
The second character is Hagar, who was banished by her mistress Sarah to the wilderness, together with her son. Hagar could not bear to see her son die of thirst and so turned away from him. God heard Ishmael’s laments and provided him with water.
Sarah is a character who appears throughout these eventful chapters. Toward the conclusion of Parshat Vayera, Sarah finally gives birth to Yitzhak in her old age. Some time afterward, Avraham and Yitzhak journey to Har Moriah. Although Sarah is not mentioned in the story of Akeydah, it is at the opening of Parshat Chayei Sarah where we are told of Sarah’s death at the age of 127 years. The Midrash attributes her death to hearing about the near sacrifice of her son from the Satan.
Three mothers, three sorrows.
This is a poem where I have mixed the narratives of these three characters. It is called
It is still timely.
May we hear good news.
Cover your eyes. Turn away.
She stands on a precipice,
Her dreams sink like stones in the sea.
Her tent stands empty of echoes.
Oh, mothers, cover your eyes. Turn away,
for her heart has been trampled,
The words of the prophet are not yet written, yet still she weeps.
What remains is
a cry in the wilderness
blood on the rocks
cooing of the mourning dove.
There are no questions to ask,
For the cities are burning,
The end of the story comes too late.
Where are our children?