Thursday, October 28, 2010

Avraham Avinu's deceased daughter

Summary: In which I discover a Chasam Sofer which deduces a neo-midrash I came up with myself.

Post: In the early days of this blog, I had a post on parashat Chayei Sarah, about a daughter of Sarah Imeinu who died on the same day. Rav Moshe Feinstein felt it was highly unlikely that such a tragedy occurred in Avraham Avinu's family. Though he couldn't find it in any sifrei midrash he had, he noted that that did not rule it out.

I noted that I had come up with the same midrash myself. The pasuk at the start of Chayei Sarah reads:

ב  וַתָּמָת שָׂרָה, בְּקִרְיַת אַרְבַּע הִוא חֶבְרוֹן--בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן; וַיָּבֹא, אַבְרָהָם, לִסְפֹּד לְשָׂרָה, וְלִבְכֹּתָהּ.2 And Sarah died in Kiriatharba--the same is Hebron--in the land of Canaan; and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.

Since small letters are often darshened in such a way that we read the word as if it is not present (and I give examples), this gives us u-le-vitah, "and to her daughter".

This year, I see that the Chasam Sofer says something quite similar, such that this is probably where this neo-midrash originated.

Thus, Avraham's daughter was called BaKol. And she was born to Avraham, yet she died, much earlier. Avraham didn't feel the pain for this lost daughter so much until he lost Sarah as well. And read it as ולבתה, because of the small כ.


Hillel said...

R' Waxman,
2 Issues:
1) The Chasam Sofer doesn't say the daughter died the same day, but rather much earlier, only Avraham didn't feel the pain as much while Sarah was alive.
2) This entire approach strikes me as a bit odd, since the whole idea of a daughter of Avraham (especially one named 'bakol') is based on a pasuk later on (24:1). It strikes me as difficult to say ein mukdam u'meuchar here, since that verse introduces the 'finding Rivka' narrative, which must occur after Sarah died.

Chaim Gershon said...

joshwaxman said...

regarding (1), indeed. it is more nuanced, that way, i think. but when it was reported to rav moshe feinstein, from the maharil diskin, it was the less nuanced version.

regarding (2), also indeed. if i recall correctly, this was also one of rav moshe feinstein's objections to it. though i think a strong answer can be given as it being the pluperfect. indeed, that it how JPS renders it, without being compelled by any midrashic considerations:
"And Abraham was old, well stricken in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things." That is, looking back on his entire life, he had been blessed in all things. If so, there is no need even for ain mukdam ume'uchar.

Chaim Gershon:
Nice. Thanks. I'll try to work through those sources. Not sure I have access to all of them, though. The background reasoning that otherwise she would have had to have married either Yitzchak or else a gentile is quite fascinating.

kol tuv,


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