Section:  Avodah   Category: Bnei Bayscha
Parshas Vayeira: Rav Pam - Your Spouse Doesn't Want To Hear The Truth
Toward the beginning of the parsha, the visiting Malachim  delivered the message from Hashem  to Avraham: "I will surely return to you at this time next year, and behold Sarah your wife will have a son. Avraham and Sarah were old and that the manner of women had ceased to be with Sarah." [Bereshis 18:10-11] Then in the next pasuk, Sarah asks: "After I have withered I shall again have smooth skin? And my husband is an old man." In other words, Sarah wonders how is it possible for her to conceive, when she is already past her years of childbearing. In addition, her husband was an old man as well.

However, when Hashem went back to Avraham and admonished Sarah for laughing, Hashem only mentioned her argument that she was old to Avraham. Hashem does not reveal to Avraham that Sarah had also doubted the news because "her husband was an old man." Rashi learns  from this - based on Chazal - that one change the truth  to preserve peace (between husband and wife).

Rav Pam asks the following question: Avraham Avinu was in fact 99 years old. Everyone knew that he was an old man. It was obvious to him that he was an old man. It would have not at all been news to Avraham that Sarah was surprised that she would conceive, because - among other reasons - her husband was old. Would Avraham really have been upset if he had heard the "full truth" from the Hashem?

Rav Pam explains that we see from here, that the whole world can recognize and tell a person that he is old, but he cannot hear that piece of news from his wife! The reverse is true as well. A woman can have gray hair. She can be a grandmother. But if her husband should tell her, "You know, you are getting up there in years." - it would hurt her immensely. Spouses are more sensitive to each other, and therefore care must be taken.