It happened again this week. #MeToo moments occurred even in the Torah. Last week, in the portion entitled Lech L’cha (Genesis Chapters 12-17), Abram tells Sarai, his wife, to say that she is his sister so that “it will go well for him” when they arrive in Egypt and she is admired by the Pharaoh. Sarai is, as Abram expects, taken into the harem. Ultimately, she is released, and Abram is paid well. Originally, Abram feared for his life and was willing to allow his wife to be molested to save his own skin.
In this week’s portion Vayera (Gen. 18-22), repeats this ploy in Gerar, see Gen. Ch. 20 for all the details. Though their names have been changed by God, Abraham and Sarah are caught in the same scheme. Is offering you wife to another man to better your own position a Jewish value? God forbid!
Current events might make us wonder. Why is the abuse and harassment of women so ubiquitous? The late Martin Buber has the answer, as documented by the Jewish Virtual Library. When men see women as possessions, property or simply powerless, they feel the license to abuse. When women are things, an it, men can look through women. We must aspire to an I-Thou relationship where men and women are viewed with equal humanity not as stepping stones to gratify a lustful urge or a play for more power.
In addition to the Jewish Virtual Library, feel free to attend Spring semester of Adult Education Classes where we’ll discuss Buber and other modern Jewish philosophers at CRT.
It is also among the many topics we’ll discuss in the coming weeks during CRT Torah Study on Saturday mornings from 9:30-11am.