Today’s parsha is worthy of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Sarai, Avram’s wife, hasn’t had any children. So she figures she’ll give her servant girl, Hagar, to her husband. Then Hagar can have a baby for Avram and they’ll all live happily ever after.
But it doesn’t work out that way! Hagar gets pregnant all right. But that makes her lord it over Sarai. You can imagine this young Egyptian girl saying to old Sarai: “Ha, ha. I’m going to have a baby and you’re not.”
Sarai hits the ceiling. She complains to Avram that Hagar is being snooty to her and Avram says, in essence, “Hey, she’s your servant. Do what you want to her.”
Now this next part does not make Sarai look too good. Sarai was really cruel to Hagar (who was, after all pregnant!) You can almost picture the hair pulling! Sarai was so mean that Hagar ran away into the wilderness!
So far this is a story about a sad love triangle. But now God’s messenger comes into the picture. He finds Hagar in the wilderness and tells her to go back to her mistress and let herself be abused by her. In return, God’s messenger tells her he will make her offspring “too many to count.” “I will make nations of you, yes, kings will go out from you!” God makes a Covenant with Hagar and her offspring, that they will have all the land of Canaan, and God will be God to them.
So she goes back to Avram and Sarai and has Ishmael.
At the end of the parsha, Ishmael gets circumcised, Avram gets his more familiar name of Abraham, and Sarai becomes Sarah.
There’s more to Hagar’s story. We’ll get to it next year.
Food for Thought
It was Sarai’s idea to “give” Hagar to Avram. Yet it didn’t work out. Why do you think that was?