from barrenness of soul to prophet—and the world’s matriarch
© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.
The Bible is our instruction manual, history, present, future. G-d's words, drawing us into the hidden, His deep. We read what's written. But what about what’s not said—between the lines and within the strokes of each Hebraic letter? Those crevices are often where revelation and back stories emerge.
This soul-arrow story is part of a series, birthed from my Soul Remodeling post. In the Bible, G-d calls individuals—and the entire nation of Israel—into a soul-wilderness journey, where He takes them off the grid . . . away from the common and into a holy, deeper understanding within their soul.
There are three components of G-d’s soul-remodeling process: The love call (a lech lecha לֶךְ-לְךָ process to go for and into yourself). The deconstruction-reconstruction soul process. The emergence.
Flashes of His light. A moment of revelation. The soul pricked with divine sparks. That was Sarah as every crack of lightning cut through her story. The call from the polytheistic, cosmopolitan Ur to Haran, move from Haran to Canaan, dealings with Lot, battle with the five kings, sweepings into pharaoh’s and Abimelech’s harems.
Something had to be learned here, absorbed here, infused here, stripped here in order to birth something of greater magnitude later.
Sarah was strong, independent, vocal, and faithful to G-d’s calling on her soul. Rashi, a renowned medieval French rabbi, said the various meanings of her name reveal Sarah’s identity, her soul’s ascent as it were . . . divine spirit, beauty, royal leadership, and prophetic gifting that surpassed Avraham’s.
After all, G-d did say, “Everything Sarah says to you—listen to her voice.” Genesis (Bereishit) 21:12.
Yet the catalyst of Sarah’s story—barrenness—could reveal even more.
Sketchy pieces of her earlier story appear in Genesis (Bereishit) 11:29-31. “The name of Avram’s wife was Sarai . . . And Sarai was barren; she had no child . . . And Terach took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there . . . And the days of Terach were 205 years; Terach died in Haran.”
The next line begins chapter 12 and jumps right to G-d giving Avram the lech lecha command. Meaning, go for yourself, to yourself, into yourself. But hold up. How did Avram know G-d at this point? There’s no introduction—unlike when G-d introduces Himself to Moses in Exodus 3 at the burning bush.
Not to mention that Terach, Avram’s father, was an idolater and an idol maker, per midrash. And just why was Terach moving Avram, Sarai, and the rest of the clan initially to Canaan? And why did they stop in Haran and stay there instead of reaching their destination?
Here’s where the “what’s not said” may give a window to the backstory. Some rabbinic teachings suggest that Avram got the call of G-d—or perhaps, the introduction to Him—earlier in Ur, where he convinced his father to head out toward Canaan. Rabbi Meir Schweiger of Pardes Institute posited in a 2008 podcast on the Lech Lecha Torah portion that Terach may have thought, why not? Change your locale, you could change your luck. 
Couldn’t hurt. Sarai was barren, after all. Things just may do a turnaround.
But Canaan wasn’t Terach’s calling, it was Avram’s. Terach stopped along the way after setting eyes on Haran . . . perhaps distracted by what it offered or perhaps seeing it as a place to profit for his idol business. He apparently wasn’t someone with “spiritual” endeavors in mind, someone who could keep his eye on the goal and finish the task—namely, Canaan.
As a result, Avram and Sarai were interrupted from their destiny call to Canaan until Terach dies. They lived those years with their souls compressurized in a pagan family that had a pagan business, in a pagan city, in a pagan world. When the lech lecha command came forth in Genesis (Bereishit) 12, Avram is 75 and Sarai is 65.
Her soul had to be freed from its barrenness. Even though she had met the one true G-d, her life had been steeped in the lie of paganism.
It was as if G-d were saying . . .
You’ve met Me, but I need to take you through a series of events to tenderize your soul and work out the toxic lies of satan and the far-from-my-ways human viewpoint that has been polluting your soul. I need you to come away with me to open up your neshama [the higher part of your soul’s matrix, attached to G-d] and flood your entire soul with My presence, My voice, My truth of
who I am—so you can discover the truth of who you are in me,
what I’ve called you to be.
Hit pause—reminder of soul parts.
Click this popup: Soul Matrix recap
Neshama (neh-shah-mah)—breath/breath of life, nishmat chayim [נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים], that G-d breathed into Adam per Genesis 2:7—higher/holy part of the soul, attached to G-d, drawn to His holiness and higher dimension, bringing His light and voice through. It's linked to your soul identity—and attached to your ruach.
Ruach (roo-akh)—wind per Genesis 8:1 [רוּחַ]—human spirit, rises/descends. Seat of emotions (the heart). Works like a transmitter, stirs your love for G-d and exhales the breath of G-d's love to the world. Acts in tandem with the neshama to pull the nefesh and entire soul matrix upward. It's positioned/attached between your neshama (higher soul part) and nefesh (lower soul part).
Nefesh (neh-fesh)—living being, seat of appetite/craving, lowest part of the soul. From the Hebrew shoresh/root nafash [נפש] meaning “to rest” per Exodus 31:17. The life force (Leviticus 17:11), includes the physical body. Entrenched in an earthbound reality, focused on and tethered to the natural realm/physical world and attached to your ruach.
Only humans have a neshama. But every living being—human and animal—has the ruach and nefesh soul-matrix parts. See Job 12:10; Genesis 1:20-21, 24; Ecclesiastes 3:21; Proverbs 12:10; Isaiah 56:11.
Read the blog post Combat Zone to see how the soul matrix can play out in your soul journey.
THE DAYS IN BETWEEN
Anticipation. Frustration. Each month, watching for signs of a pregnancy. Years passed. Was it a curse or sin? A divine abandonment? Something more . . . something different?
Sarai had her questions, maybe her doubts. What you have to wonder is . . .
Could her soul even breathe in its barren exile—or did that empty nest give rise to her independence and a more visible position along side her husband?
Was she consistently inundated with her in-law’s pagan fertility rituals, which added more pressure, physically and spiritually?
Did she eventually bury the hope of a child and learn to find contentment in her relationship and gifting from the one true G-d?
Actually, there’s a possibility that, in time, Sarai started growing and flowing in her barren state, and perhaps—with G-d’s strength—even getting a bit comfortable in her motherless wife role—free to move about, spiritually partnering with her husband.
BELOVED, gaze in thine own heart,
The holy tree is growing there;
From joy the holy branches start,
And all the trembling flowers they bear.
—The Two Trees, W.B. Yeats
PHYSICAL JOURNEYS MIRROR THE SOUL’S INNER JOURNEY
Pressurized, stark, or barren situations in the natural reflect, ignite, and even move the tensions within the soul. Like you and me, Sarai’s lech lecha call from G-d was no different. She and Avram sojourned in the physical desert—living nomadically, in infertility, leaving all that was common, their land, birthplace, and relatives, entertaining guests and angels—while traversing the untapped spiritual terrain within their souls. 
Up probably felt like down. Down felt like up. A sojourn wrought with emotional, physical, and spiritual trials—not to mention those infamous family matters. Certainly, no cakewalk.
Promises from G-d were still sitting on the table.
But they couldn’t be touched or lived out until decades later.
When G-d gave 86-year-old Avram the promise of having a child by his loins, the bold, faithful Sarai came up with a plan of how they could fulfill G-d’s decree—a “solution” in the natural that lagged lightyears behind G-d’s intentions.
Enter stage left, Hagar.
Sarai’s “plan” resulted in another 13 years of deconstruction-reconstruction soul work for her and Avram—enduring and resolving the consequences of her prior getting-ahead-of-G-d decision to use Hagar.
For there a fatal image grows
That the stormy night receives,
Roots half hidden under snows,
Broken boughs and blackened leaves.
For all things turn to barrenness
In the dim glass the demons hold,
The glass of outer weariness,
Made when God slept in times of old.
—The Two Trees, W.B. Yeats
BUT ALL WASN’T LOST
G-d had a plan. He voiced in them a promise and a new name that impacted their destiny . . . a move from having “a” mission to having a worldwide calling, per the Talmud.
Ninety-nine-year-old Avram—his name meaning father of a nation—became Avraham, father of many nations.
Eighty-nine-year-old, Sarai—meaning my princess, of a tribe/household—became Sarah, princess of the world, mother of every Jewish convert.
At age 90, counterintuitive to any human logic, Sarah was finally ready in G-d’s eyes to exhale her soul’s purpose . . . not just the birth of Isaac, but becoming a vessel in G-d’s hands to birth a nation out of a wilderness womb that would transform the world.
 Rabbi Meir Schweiger’s newer podcasts can be found on Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies.
 Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 13, Genesis 14, Genesis 15:1-6, Genesis 18, Genesis 22:16-18
 The Talmudic concept regarding Avraham and Sarah moving from a particular mission to a universal one is from Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Berachot 13a.