While sitting in shul this Shabbat I realized the amount that women in this past week’s Parsha, Parshat Va’yera.
There is Sara. First we hear about her cooking for her guest. Then her getting taken by Avimelech. Then she gives Hagar to Avraham, and eventually kicks Hagar out. Avraham is commanded by God to listen to the words of Sara. Then Sara is “remembered” and gives birth.
There is Hagar. She is given over to Avraham and conceives quickly. She is then sent out, and has a conversation and promise from God.
There are Lot’s daughters that are almost sent out to an angry mob for them to do what they please. Lot’s wife who when leaving Sodom turns around and turns to a pillar of salt. And then again Lot’s daughters deciding that the world has ended and they need to repopulate the world, so they get their father drunk and sleep with him.
At the very end of that Parsha we hear about the birth of Rivka, who will take a prominent role in the upcoming weeks.
Now the truth is, most of these stories are not so happy. There is a lot of conflict or a bit of sadness that comes with them all. At the same time we see a lot of power given to each of these women. It is because of each of them that story is able to continue. Each one of these women acts in their own will. They do not ask for permission to act, they just act. They are spoken to by God, not through another person.
I don’t have a good conclusion (I need to work on that, these are just some intial thoughts), but there has to be something to learn from this (and not that women can’t make good choices because then bad things will happen).