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שָׂרָה   (בראשית יא-כג )
Wife of אברהם   and first matriarch of Israel. שרה   was originally שָֹרַי   and is renamed by God. When the family sets out from אור כשדים   for ארץ כנען שרי   of course accompanies her husband (פרשת נח ). Soon after their arrival in כנען a famine forces the couple to travel to Egypt. On the way, אברם   (who is yet to be called אברהם ) remarks to his wife that her beauty might put him in danger- the Egyptians might take her and kill him. He suggests that they pretend they are siblings in order to avoid any trouble. Indeed, שרי   attracts attention and is taken to פרעה 's  household; אברם   is given gifts of many cattle. As punishment for פרעה 's  behaviour, God strikes the royal household with a plague. פרעה   summons אברם   and promptly ejects him and שרי   from the country. Since שרי   is barren, she suggests to אברם   that he marry her Egyptian maid הגר and hopefully she will conceive; in this way שרי   will be "built up through her." אברם   marries הגר   but when she does become pregnant she arouses the jealousy of שרי   who treats her so poorly that הגר   runs away. At the time that God declares His intention to give שרי   a son of her own, He changes her husband's name to אברהם   and her name to שרה   (פרשת לך לך ). Three men come to visit אברהם   and repeat the prediction that שרה   will have a son within a year's time. שרה   overhears this news and laughs at it. She is subsequently rebuked by God who tells אברהם   that שרה   showed a lack of faith by thinking she was too old to bear a child. שרה   denies having laughed. שרה   is again passed off as אברהם 's  sister when the family travels to גרר and she is abducted by King אבימלך God appears to אבימלך   in a dream and threatens him with death. The king confronts אברהם   who explains that he didn't trust the people of the place to act honourably, and furthermore that he and שרה   share the same father (see רש "י   to בראשית כ :יב ). The couple is sent off with great riches. שרה   gives birth to יצחק   who is circumcised according to the covenant with God. Seeing her maid's son ישמעאל   making sport of יצחק שרה   demands that אברהם   banish the youth and his mother. אברהם   is upset at this request but שרה 's  wish is approved by God (פרשת וירא ). שרה   dies at age 127 and is buried by her husband אברהם   in מְעָרַת הַמַכְפֵּלָה   in חברון   (פרשת חיי שרה ). The Gemara lists שרה   as one of seven female prophets: מגילה יד ..


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