Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Table Talk - Lech Lecha 5768

Can you take a compliment? When someone says something nice about you, are you able to say “Thank you,” or do you feel the need to either come up with some kind of excuse, (“It was just a lucky guess!”) question the sincerity of the compliment (“You really think it looks nice?!”), or even negate the compliment entirely (“I thought I sounded so stupid!”? Many of us are happy to give complements to others. But when we get them, our lack of self-confidence and negative self-image often hinders us from taking them as graciously as we give them.

Sarai has no such problems. As she approaches the Land of Egypt with her husband Avram, he realizes that when the Egyptians see her fantastic beauty they’ll kill him to take her as a wife for the Pharoh. Indeed, Avram correctly assesses the situation, as they immediately grab Sarai as soon as they cross the border. When spelling out the plan to his wife Avram tells Sarai, הנה נא ידעתי כי אשה יפת מראה את – “Behold, I know that you are an exceedingly beautiful woman.” “So, to save my life,” אמרי נא אחותי את – “Please say that you’re my sister, and not my wife.”

How does Sarai react? Does she deny it (“Oh, I’m not that pretty!”) or question his sincerity (“Do you really think so, Avram?”) Actually, we don’t hear her say anything. But it’s safe to say that when Avram tells his wife that she’s the most beautiful woman in the world – and would she mind saving his life, all she needs to say is, “Thank you…my brother.”