The Torah, Genesis 21:12: “And God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased concerning the lad and concerning your handmaid; whatever Sarah tells you, hearken to her voice, for in Isaac will be called your seed.”
Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) 1:5: “Let your home be wide open, and let the poor be members of your household. And do not engage in excessive conversation with a woman. This is said even regarding one’s own wife—how much more so regarding the wife of another.”
Question: On the one hand, it is written, “…whatever Sarah tells you, hearken to her voice,” and on the other hand, it is written, “do not engage in excessive conversation with a woman.” How can we understand this contradiction?
Answer: A person is made of different desires that are divided into two levels: a desire to receive, which means to draw everything to myself for my own egoistic filling, and a desire to bestow by which I bestow, give, and connect with others. Each of them is also correspondingly called a female desire to receive and a male desire to bestow.
Bestowal refers to a person’s attitude toward others, his effort to bestow, to give, and to connect with everyone into one unique whole, which is the correct schema of the final corrected state of humanity. Naturally there are egoistic desires among the male and female desires when the bestowal is carried out with the intention of getting something back and and gaining something, and there are desires of giving without getting something in return.
Among the female desires, there is a desire to take indiscriminately as much as possible, and there is a more essential desire to receive only in order to exist; then it as if helps the male desire in bestowal.
Question: What does “…whatever Sarah tells you, hearken to her voice?” mean?
Answer: Sarah represents the desire that operates in order to bestow and helps her husband. For herself the basic necessities are enough, and everything else is for others. Abraham was known for his hospitality, inviting every passerby to his tent. He told his guests about the uniqueness of the Creator and offered that they could be part of a covenant he called Yashar El (Straight to the Creator), that is, straight to the goal of connection and unity among people. This covenant was based on the absolute connection between people in order to become one unique whole, and Sarah helped him in that.
However, at the same time, different sources say, “…do not engage in excessive conversation with a woman,” and it also says, “This is said even regarding one’s own wife—how much more so regarding the wife of another.” It refers to the female desire, to the desire to receive with which one should have as little contact as possible. Take from it only what can help you in the desire to bestow.
Therefore, there is no contradiction, but simply the upgrading of our desires that everyone has: both male and female. Two male desires and two female desires, only a total of four, exist in each of us. The right connection between them is the Creator’s four-letter name.
From KabTV’s “Conversations with Michael Laitman” 1/19/16