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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Yonah Burr

Noach: True Beauty

ויקח אברם ונחור להם נשים שם אשת אברם שרי ושם אשת נחור מלכה בת הרן אבי מלכה ואבי יסכה
And Avram and Nahor took themselves wives; the name of Avram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah. The daughter of Haran, the father of Micah and the father of Yiscah.

This rather confusing Possuk states that Avram’s and Nahor’s wives were the daughters of Haran, who in turn was the father of Milcah and Yiscah.

Who is Yiscah? Rashi, citing Chazal states that Yiscah was indeed Sarai, the daughter of Haran, who in turn was the father of Yiscah/Sarai.

Why was Sarai known as Yiscah? Rashi, again quoting Chazal, states three reasons: Yiscah means to ‘gaze’ which refers to the fact that Sarai was able to look and understand things through the prism of Ruach HaKodesh, Divine Inspiration. Secondly, everyone ‘gazed’ at her, due to her exceptional beauty. And thirdly, the word Yiscah could mean nobility, because Sarai was like a princess, just as the name Sarah means ‘princess over all’.

Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l wonders, why would the fact that she was so beautiful, be mentioned along with the other attributes of Sarai? The fact she was so righteous as to merit Divine Inspiration, along with the fact that she was as respected and influential as a queen, truly reflect her nobility of character. But the seemingly mundane fact that she was beautiful, doesn’t seem as relevant.

Rav Moshe explains: Hashem gave us the Torah and Mitzvos even though we are mere human beings with frailties and weaknesses. Our job, is to elevate ourselves, and the world around us, to bring Hashem’s true Honor into the world.

The physical beauty of Sarai, actually contributed to her greatness; the world saw, how she was able to withstand challenges such as Pharoh and Avimelech, demonstrating that even her beauty can glorify Hashem. Her beauty was actually one of her attributes that showed her true dedication to Hashem!

The delicacies and pleasures of this world, as well, are to be used to appreciate Hashem’s Glory and Kindness, and to be used as vehicles to serve Him.

The Gemara at the end of Kesubos concludes with the promise that in the future, even barren trees will produce fruit. What is the significance of this? Explains Rav Moshe, that to the extent that we use the physical properly, as a means to glorify Hashem and demonstrate His kindness to us, to that extent will we merit the prosperity; Hashem is really promising us that in the future our capacity to serve Him will be so great, that we will be capable to receive even more bounty and pleasure, because we will be on the level to use it properly. May we all merit to reach our full potential, and see the coming of Moshiach speedily in our day!

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

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