In Beresheit 18:12, Sara laughs within herself & wonders at the idea of regaining a youthful biology.
Yet it happened.
However, it only happened to her. As Sara Imeinu noted: "...my husband is old."
And when Hashem repeated the scenario to Avraham Avinu, Hashem omitted Sara's reference to Avraham Avinu's advanced age.
In light of this, certain questions naturally come to mind.
Fortunately for us, the Kli Yakar not only thought of the obvious questions, he also came up with some answers.
At Least 2 Questions Come to Mind...
As the Kli Yakar points out: "...ki ein hadavar nimna ki zaken harbeh yachol l'holid – for it is not an impossible thing for a very old man to be able to beget [a child]."
Question #2: Why did Hashem change Sara's words?
Is Avraham self-conscious about his age?
No, that doesn't make sense in the context of everything we know about Avraham Avinu.
And, as the Kli Yakar notes, "Lamah yerah b'einei Avraham al sheh amra ha'emet? – Why would it seem bad in Avraham's eyes that she said the truth?"
After all, Avraham Avinu really was old!
Why would he get offended? He was the furthest thing from a vain person. In addition, he was a TREMENDOUS tzaddik! This means he was also profoundly emes-oriented.
Even more, Avraham Avinu deeply loved Sara Imeinu and she was his full & equal partner in everything he did.
Talk about 2 halves of 1 soul.
He's not going to see Sara Imeinu in a negative light. No way.
The answer lies in Sara Imeinu's understanding of spiritual physics.
What Did Avraham Avinu's Old Age Mean to Sara Imeinu?
Sara Imeinu understood the great miracles that occurred over the long term when Avraham Avinu waged war against the Edomite kings.
She also realized that great miracles use up great merits.
In fact, Avraham Avinu himself was concerned about this very issue, as explained by Rashi in Beresheit 15:1.
So Sara Imeinu saw that Hashem rejuvenated her body with healthy youth.
But Hashem hadn't done so for her husband.
To her, this meant that the conquest had used up his merits and so he lacked the merits necessary to produce a child.
Furthermore, realizing that according to the natural order of things, she & Avraham Avinu were at the end of their life together, she laughed at what she considered an incomplete promise.
What is the point of she & Avraham having a child if they could not live to raise him, especially since out of the entire world at that time, only Sara & Avraham possessed the ability to raise a Yitzchak Avinu?
In her great humility, it didn't occur to Sara that she was worth the extra miracle. And she honestly thought that her husband's merits were used up - an assumption validated by Avraham's apparent lack of renewed youth & vigor.
So because she ascribed her humble disbelief to a lack of merit on Avraham's part (not because he lacked merits, but because both he & she felt certain he'd used them up in a truly miraculous conquest), Hashem changed the wording.
And to all of it, Hashem answered (Targum): "Is anything too hidden and separated and concealed from Me to prevent Me from doing My Will?"
Here's All the Above in a Nutshell:
- Sara emphasized Avraham's old age as physical confirmation to the spiritual assumption that his merits had indeed been used up by the ongoing miraculous conquest of the Edomite kings.
- But despite the seemingly confirmatory physical evidence of the logical calculation of spiritual physics, Avraham Avinu's merits had NOT been used up by the conquest.
- Hashem refused to even hint to Avraham Avinu that his wife thought his merits were used up.
- Anyway, Hashem can do ANYTHING.
- And that is why Hashem changed Sara's wording.
The Kli Yakar on Parshat Vayera