|Sarah – The First Beauty Queen
Published: Thursday, November 2, 2017 11:45:34 AM
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The Torah states, “Sarah’s lifetime was one hundred years, twenty years, and seven years.” (Bereshit 23:1)
The Torah informs us of Sarah’s age by separating the hundreds, the tens, and the ones by adding the word “years” to each group. This seems to be redundant. We know there are no extra words or even letters in the Torah.
Rashi explains that each group of years has a distinct meaning. At the age of one hundred, Sarah was like a twenty year old as regards sin. And when she was twenty, she was like a seven year old as regards her beauty. This Rashi is difficult to understand. Because a woman of twenty is generally thought to be more beautiful than a mere child of seven. So why does the Torah compare her beauty at the age of twenty to her beauty at the age of seven?
To resolve this difficulty, Rav Moshe Feinstein explains, that Rashi is not speaking about Sarah’s physical beauty but rather the beauty of her good deeds. People generally view all the actions and behavior of a seven year old favorably and excuse any misbehavior as acceptable in a child.
By the time she reaches the age of twenty, people apply a completely different standard. What is acceptable for a seven year old negative behavior is not acceptable for a twenty year old. It is the rare twenty year old who wins praise for all her deeds. Sarah’s character and behavior were so flawless and righteous, that even at the age of twenty all her deeds were considered pure and beautiful.
There was a number one popular song by the Temptations in 1966 called “Beauty is Only Skin Deep”. They were certainly NOT singing about Sarah’s beauty which is SOUL-DEEP and ETERNAL!