Daf Yomi Nedarim 86
The tensions were high at Abraham’s house. His older son Ishmael was bullying little Isaac and leading him astray in life. Sarah had had enough, and demanded that her husband evict her maidservant, Hagar, and her son, Ishmael. Abraham turned his eyes Heavenward and beseeched the Almighty to guide him.
“All that Sarah says to you, heed her voice, for in Isaac your seed shall be called,” was the Word from Above.
Rav Huna the son of Rabbi Yehoshua taught: If a woman declares, ‘May my hands be consecrated to their Maker,’ the husband should revoke the vow.
The Gemara asks: Why would the vow take effect? Her hands are already consecrated to her husband!
The Gemara answers: We’re dealing with a case where she said that her hands should be consecrated upon her divorce.
The Gemara ask: But now she is not divorced! Why should her statement today be effective for the future?
Rav Shisha the son of Rav Idi suggests: It is like one who says to his friend, ‘This field that I have pledged to you for ten years, may it be consecrated when I redeem it.’
Rav Ashi objects: How can you compare the two? The field has a limit (ten years). Does the woman have a limit?
The Ran explains: Maybe she will never get divorced and so her stipulation is meaningless.
All Jewish people are limitless. We have a G-dly soul inside of us that elevates us beyond the realm of this physical world. But Jewish women come from an extremely high source. That is the meaning of ‘does the woman have a limit?’ Jewish women have unbounded potential – they are truly spiritually limitless.
What did we do to merit redemption from Egypt? One Midrash states that we maintained our Jewish identity – our unique attire, language and names. A different Midrash avers that were redeemed ‘in the merit of the righteous women.’ There’s no contradiction here. The two reasons are absolutely congruent. Who was responsible for sustaining Jewish identity? The Jewish mothers, of course.
The righteous women of our nation have always sustained us throughout our history. From the women who refused to allow their husbands to take part in the sin of the Golden Calf to those who stood in the way of the rebellion of Korach, the women are the spiritual backbone of our people. They are the guides for their husbands and children. Show me a committed Jewish family and I’ll show you a dedicated Jewish mother who refuses to let her family slack off in their commitment to our faith and heritage.
Women, do you realize what incredible, unlimited spiritual power you hold? Do you understand that you alone hold the keys to your family’s spiritual success? That you hold sway over your husband, children, and grandchildren? That you are their connection to a spiritual source that is way beyond anything they could reach on their own?
Men, do you realize who wears the “spiritual pants” in the home?! Do you heed your wife/mother’s voice as the Almighty bade Abraham to do? Do you understand that their connection to the Source of Life way surpasses anything you could reach on your own? If you truly desire to fulfil your spiritual destiny and that of your children for all generations, then ‘anything Sarah says, heed her voice!’
Women have no spiritual limit. Our women have kept our nation intact, spiritually and physically, for thousands of years. May you merit tapping into the unlimited power of the woman!