Can A Biblical Woman Speak For Herself?


Sarah speaks:
I occupy the space of paradox.
I will be mother eternal
And forever the barren one.

I exist in the realm beyond language.
Teru’a is my communication.
Words cannot capture the gasping laughter,
The keening wail,
All is teru’a.

I am both.
I am other.
I am not either/or, I am all.
I am Akara.
I am Ima.

I occupy the space of “what-if.”
I am intimate with the fine line of eelulei.
I died with my reality hanging in mid-air:
My soul flew out of my body
Before I could reach the dreadful endgame.

Yitzchak lived,
And yet his ashes are gathered on the altar.

Yitzchak survived,
And yet I died of his death’s possibility.
He is sacrificed and he is not.
To know life’s true goodness, you must venture to the brink.
The tov me’od can only come after reaching the most unthinkable.

Happy are the people who have faced the instability of the world head-on.
Happy are those that have heard the teru’a.

I looked into the unbearable abyss.
Gd did not create the world for nothingness,
It is meant to be inhabited,
We behave as if it were a solid place,
Knowing full well that we hang over the limitless gape.
Recognize darkness and choose light in spite of it.

We have knowledge of nothingness,
The mystery of ayin,
The secret of what is missing.

Inspiration is inhalation,
But first we must exhale
And create a hungry space.
With every breath we take,
Our lives are reinstated.

I exist beyond biology.
I am a warrior and my cause is honesty.
I choose to feel everything.

The shofar blast is not just a message of triumph,
Not just the crowning of the king,
It contains my suffering beyond earthly vocabulary.
Let it represent the response to our call.
To know you are lost is to recognize the possibility of being found.
It is good to understand the dislocation of the world,
This does not diminish its sweetness but increases it.

I am beyond language’s limitations,
Where even sevenfold repetition cannot reach me.
I was undone by words.
I died under the sign of a question mark.

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I wept tekiah and teru’a.

I was undone by words.
I was undone by “what-if.”
I died of eelulei.

Happy are the people who know the sound of the teru’a.
Against reason, I am telling you to be happy:
Those who know the convulsive sobs of the shofar are blessed.

Teru’a is the call of woman,
The outburst of distress,
It is a short panting sound,
It is a groaning over and over.
I am a shofar played in the key of anguish.

I am the rock from which you were carved.
I created a cavity within myself to make space for you.
I am not simply womb.
I am the hammer that banged out hollowness.
I am she who gave birth to you.
I contain multitudes.
I am your glorious origin.

We shudder with existential unhinging,
Are intimately acquainted with uprootedness.
The cosmos is a cosmos of exile,
And yet…everywhere…Gd is crying out to us.

Wipe away the past.
Repaint the rocks.
Draw a stick across the dust.
Bring Tikkun:
And healing.
Activate the force of Beresheet.

There is a need for trembling.
I am Sarah, who is the birthing of ALL of you.
I am pregnant with potential.
I am makevet.

Let the sounding shofar
Crown me with Malchut Triumphant.


I embark on rigorous research and study of various sources before writing pieces of this nature. This piece honoring Sarah Imeinu owes a particular debt to Avivah Zornberg’s unique and gorgeous midrash. I offer my infinite gratitude to her for her wisdom and insight. 


And now…your EMOJI D’VAR TORAH! Special Sarah Imeinu Edition:
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