They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “Behold!- In the tent!” And he said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year, and behold Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent which was behind him. Now Avraham and Sarah were old, well on in years; the manner of women had ceased to be with Sarah- And Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have withered shall I again have delicate skin? And my husband is old!” Then HASHEM said to Avraham, “Why is it that Sara laughed, saying: “Shall I in truth bear a child, though I have aged? – Is anything beyond HASHEM?! At the appointed time I will return to you at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was frightened. But he said, “No, you laughed, indeed.” (Breishis 18:9-15)
Sarah was upbraided for her subtle undetectable chuckle in reaction to a wildly improbable promise launched from the mouth of what was perceived to be a heat-stricken wayfarer. What should her reaction have been? Why spell out her error for all to read for all time?
It was Shabbos some twenty years ago and my closest and oldest friend had come to Monsey from Boston to be introduced to a young lady at the table of a neighbor. In the meantime, our house was crowded with twelve or more girls that had come to celebrate the marriage of a friend. All the young ladies politely chattered through the meal and I was left alone to mumble some Shabbos Zemiros and words of Torah. In an inspired moment, my wife brought out a few cold bottles of beer between the fish and the soup. I was singing ever so quietly and hurriedly words to a Shabbos song, “Permissible thoughts and to marry off the daughters” No sooner had the words, “to marry off the daughters” escaped my mouth than a little red-headed girl held up a bottle of beer and shouted with exuberance, “AMEN!” I stopped mid-song, looked up, and mentally snapped a picture. The girls went home, and I was left waiting for my friend to return home. When he entered the door he looked woefully disappointed. “You’re one closer!” I declared trying to console him. I knew I said the wrong thing. I felt bad. He had driven so far only to be disappointed.
Two months later, between Purim and Pesach I awoke on a Sunday morning with an idea percolating in my mind. I promptly shared it with my wife, “What about my friend for that little red-headed girl?!” My wife countered with a skeptical tone, “I don’t see it! He’s so mellow and she’s a real live wire.” I chimed in, “Well look at us!” It gave her cause to pause and so she recommended that I speak to the one person who knew both of them. So I called up this lady that had made many matches and when she heard what I had in mind she got excited and said, “That’s a great idea!” I warned her, “That’s my idea! Don’t touch it!” So I called my friend right away. He was coming back to his apartment from a meeting with the Bostoner Rebbe who had advised him to try again, even with a certain Shidduch that didn’t seem to have much promise “unless, somebody tells you they’ve got somebody very special”. When he picked up the phone I told him right away, “I have someone very special…” His ears perked up. It was the same words the Rebbe had just uttered to him.
Three months later, there we all were by the Chupa at the Marina Del Rey between the Whitestone and Throgsneck Bridges while planes overhead streaked the sky. For years afterward, whenever we would go to Boston to visit them, my friend, would introduce me as the match-maker and all the guys would strike poses before me as if I had a warehouse back in New York. I was embarrassed because although I had tried before and since I have never been successful except this one time. It took me years to figure out who was the real human matchmaker. It was none other than the red-headed girl with the beer and her spontaneous- “AMEN!”
The Talmud tells us, “The blessing of a simple person should not be light in your eyes.” Even if I happened to be chirping mindlessly words to a song, she highlighted her readiness to accept astonishing, albeit improbable, news because “nothing is too wondrous for HASHEM”. Caught off guard Sarah, it seems, missed that golden opportunity to respond at the mention of her having a child with one word, and one word only. Let us hope we are ready for the good news we are awaiting, and speedily, in our days, “AMEN!” DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.