Headquarters of Children (on Parashat Vayera)

Excerpt from The Torah Commentary of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Genesis, Part I.

And God had remembered Sarah as He had said, and God did or Sarah as He had spoken. (Bereishis 21:1)

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED THAT UNDER THE chuppah the man says something to the woman, but the woman doesn’t say anything? So I want to say the deepest Torah in the world. The man says to the woman, “I want you to be holy.” Do you know what the woman wants? She wants more than that, she wants the holy of holies, the holy of holies.

You know why the woman is the one to bring children into the world? Because she is connected to the holy of holies.

For us, it’s the mother who makes the children deeper.

Here I want to share with you a gevalt Torah.

Vayera Elav Hashem, God gave over to Avraham the secret of the holy of holies. So when the angels come to Avraham, they sense how deep and special this meeting is. They ask him, “Ayeh Sarah ishtecha,” where is your wife Sarah? Now that God revealed to you the secret of the holy of holiest, what level is your wife Sarah on?

He answers “Hinei ba’ohel,” she’s always in the tent. She is always in the holy of holies. She was there long before me.

You know my beautiful friends, imagine if Avraham and Sarah got married and had a son right away. What would it sound like to you? It might be beautiful, but something is missing because Jewish children are not just born because man and woman get together and decide to have children.

The Heilige Beis Ya’akov says that Avraham and Sarah prayed for all the Jewish children to ever come down to the world. Sarah and Avraham already prayed for all generations to come.

I wish it would be again like it’s supposed to be. There is something so special about holy Jewish families. Gevalt, gevalt, gevalt is the love for their children.

I want you to know something. Parents, real holy parents would go into fre before ever saying anything bad about their children. You know friends, for me an assimilated Jew is not someone who eats a hamburger on Yom Kippur. I don’t say that’s the right thing to do, but I wouldn’t say that it shows his neshama is gone too far. When I see parents who don’t care for their children, oy vey, are they far from Yiddishkeit.

Gevalt, are they far from Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov.

I want you to know something very deep. There are two levels of hav­ing children. There is the level of having children because this is the nature of the world. You get married, you have children, and the world has to continue. This is B’nei Noach, the sons of Noach. Noach has the covenant with God that the world will always continue to exist, but then there is a higher level. Not only will the world continue to exist, we are waiting for something so much deeper. We are waiting for God to reveal Himself. We are longing for something that hasn’t happened before and I know and believe that my children will bring it, my grand­children will bring that day.

Therefore, Yitzchak was only born after Avraham and Sarah reached that level of longing. When did they reach this level of longing? It says “Vayera elav Hashem,” God reveals Himself, and “Vayera” come from the word “see.”

You know what happened to Avraham when God made a covenant with him? God taught him how to see. You know what a covenant be­tween people is? A covenant between people is that we can look at each other with the holiness of longing. I see what’s in front of me, but I also see so much more. It’s the deepest, deepest depths there is. Therefore, only after God made the covenant with Avraham, and He taught him the secret of seeing, was Yitzchak then born.

In Chassidus it says that when you pray you mamesh have to have a “guf naki,” a clean body. Now everybody knows that our sages instituted prayers in place of the sacrifices, which sadly enough we don’t have today. So when you pray you have to be clean because by the Korbanos it always says “reyach nichoach laHashem” (Vayikra 1:9) you have to smell good.

Learning smells good, but the best smell in the world is a good prayer. Ahh, what a fragrance, what a fragrance. Mamesh Gan Eden.

So let me ask you friends, why was Yitzchak chosen to possibly be a korban? By a korban it says, “Reyach nichoach el Hashem,” it has to smell good. Yitzchak was the first baby who was mamesh prayed out into the world.

When it comes to the birth of Yitzchak, you pray for a baby for a hun­dred years, Gevalt, does he smell good.

What’s the Beis HaMikdash all about? Even the air by the holy wall is not just healthy air: Reyach nichoach laHashem . . . something else.

Listen to this deepest depths in the world.

On the day that Yitzchak was born, the most amazing thing in the world happened. All mothers who didn’t have children finally had children. Do you know what Sarah did; you think Sarah just wanted a child for herself? On that day they all had children.

What did Yitzchak do to the world? Why is it that God gives me some­thing and I cannot bring it down for the whole world? See what it is, unfortunately for some of us, the most important thing is that I should have whatever I want. So God can say, “I want to give you something,” and you say, “So, give it to me already.” Imagine you say to God, “If you give it to me please, I’m begging you, give it to the whole world.”

Do you know how our holy mother Sarah was praying for a baby? “I’m eighty­nine years old, but please God, there are so many more woman who don’t have children either. If you give me a baby you have to give to them too. I cannot bear the thought of having a baby and someone on the other end of the word doesn’t have a baby.”

You see what it is, Sarah was the first person in the world that was mam­esh happy when somebody else had something good happen to them.

Friends, I want you to open your hearts in the deepest way, this is awesome.

It says “VaHashem pakad es Sarah ka’asher amar, vaya’as Hashem le’Sarah ka’asher diber” (Bereishis 21:1).

If you translate it, it means God remembered Sarah “ka’asher amar,” like He whispered. “Vaya’as Hashem leSarah,” and God did to Sarah, “ka’asher diber,” as He spoke.

And here I want you to listen to this Ishbitser Torah, which is awesome.

When the Torah uses the word “amar” it’s as if God whispered when He spoke. When did God speak to Sarah? When the angel came and said to Sarah, “Next year you’re going to have a child.”

What is the level of whispering? This is the deepest Mei HaShiloach Torah.

First of all, it’s got to be clear to us that when we pray it’s not that we pray and God answers, it’s so much deeper than that. What really happens is that God prays and we answer.

Now listen to the most awesome thing in the world.

How could Sarah, who is already eighty-­nine years old, still be praying for a baby? Gevalt, God was whispering into her ears, “I want you to have a son.”

VaHashem pakad es Sarah ka’asher amar,” it’s even too awesome to utter. The deepest secret between God and Sarah was that God was asking of her all the time, “Please pray for a child, please pray for a child.”

I want you to know something and this is mamesh the deepest depths.

Why is it that for us, children are so holy and so special?

All the children who were born before Yitzchak are in one category, and from Yitzchak on something else is happening. Before Yitzchak it’s very simple. A man meets a woman and they have a baby. There is nothing to it, mazel tov, it’s beautiful. From Yitzchak on, a child is touching the deepest, deepest secret of my heart, and it takes more to just decide to have a child. Do you know how deep it is?

What happens to you when you tell somebody a secret? What happens to you when you put your mouth on somebody’s ear? You are basically saying, “I don’t want you to look at me when I’m telling this to you.” It’s so infinite, it has no place in the world.

You know why Yitzchak couldn’t see? Because Yitzchak comes from the world “ka’asher amar,” God was whispering. Humanly speaking, mamesh from God’s mouth to Sarah’s ears. So Yitzchak couldn’t see, because he is mamesh connected to the deepest depths of this world which is beyond what you see in this world.

There is a Torah of Reb Nachman which is mind blowing. (Likutei Halachos, Hilchos Shabbos 6:23).

Reb Nachman asks why is it that when Yitzchak was born it says, “Kol hashomei’ah yitzchak li” (Bereishis 21:6), anybody who hears of the birth was laughing, and was mamesh flled with joy?

Friends, let me ask you something. Do you know how many babies are born every day? So let’s say that in a certain way Yitzchak was better, maybe he was cuter, but the whole world just starts to laugh? What was so special about him?

So this is what he says, I want you to open your hearts.

There are two way of reaching holiness. One way is that I’m working very hard on it. That means there is a kind of holiness I can gain or I can lose. Each time I do a mitzvah I get a little bit holier, and each time I make a mistake I get a little less holy. So I’m going up and down like an elevator, one day I’m very holy and the next day I’m not.

But then there is another kind of holiness which has nothing to do with how much I work on it or not. It’s the kind of holiness God gave me when I was born which is untouchable. It can be hidden, completely covered with dirt and filth, but it is the kind of holiness that no one can take away from me. Even my own actions can’t take it away from me. I can do everything wrong my whole life but the inside remains so holy.

So Reb Nachman says the most unbelievable thing. Until Yitzchak was born, the only way to become holy was by working hard. But you know what Yitzchak brought down to the world? Yitzchak brought down to the world that you are born holy.

Can you imagine? Suddenly the whole world began laughing. Something happened to the world that from now on the children are born holy. What could you do besides break out in laughter?

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