Regarding my Open Letter, published here two weeks ago, I would like my readers to read the following as well:
There is a beautiful Netziv in the beginning of parshas Vayeira. Very very very briefly, the Netziv learns that in relating Sarah’s words to Avraham, Hashem rephrased Sarah’s statement, ‘Can I then give birth if my husband is so old’ to ‘if I am so old’, since that was indeed Sarah’s true intention in her statement, which had no inappropriate meaning (see the Netziv there for his explanation of this). However, Avraham misunderstood the implications of what Hashem told him; and thus he confronted Sarah as doubting. Sarah could have explained her true intentions, but she chose not to elaborate further, and so she simply denied what Avraham said (meaning to deny, without any elaboration, Avraham’s interpretation), and left it at that (see the Netziv for the whole story!).
The Netziv then makes the following observation: Sarah was faced with a situation where Avraham, in the name of Hashem, no less, was putting words in her mouth, and confronting her with that! Says the Netziv, Sarah could have defended her words and revealed her true meaning at the expense of making Avraham feel inadequate. However, that is not how she responded. Before she speaks, the Torah puts in a pesik –a pause. Time to take a breath and think. Time to consider the impact of a full-throttle defense before speaking. Sarah decides to make a subtle attempt to defuse the situation. End quote.
Moraiy Verabosaiy and Ladies: Last week, I wrote an over-1500 word open letter. A few sentences there were hurtful to some people. Perhaps even the tone of the entire letter.(I speak now only of the tone.) Even were it to be to hurtful to one person, all the more to some, and perhaps to many, it is wrong (assur) to be hurtful, and I ask whoever was offended by the letter for mechilah. Yes, I am sorely tempted to defend each and every one of my phrases vigorously. Yes, I am sorely tempted to show all the appropriate, inspiring phrases that were ignored. Nevertheless, I read over the Netziv 3 or 4 times, and simply say to you: Please be mochel me for anything hurtful that was said in the course of the letter.