Academic journal article Jewish Bible Quarterly

Note on the Term Pakad: Implications regarding Sarah's Infertility

Academic journal article Jewish Bible Quarterly

Note on the Term Pakad: Implications regarding Sarah's Infertility

Article excerpt

After Abimelech and his family are healed of their infertility (Gen. 20:18), God "remembers" Sarah (Gen. 21:1) and she conceives a child. The term used in the verse is pakad which, following the commentary of Nahmanides, is usually translated as "remembered." However, most commentators (Re'em, Levush ha-Orah, Maharal in Gur Aryeh, Abrabanel, Alshekh, Ba'al ha-Turim, Hayyim Paltiel [Paltiel of Falaise, 13th-century biblical scholar], Pa'ane'ah Raza [Isaac b. Judah ha-Levi], and Samson Raphael Hirsch) reject this interpretation and understand that this word refers to the healing of Sarah's infertility. How does the verb pakad relate to the healing of infertility? Both Pa'ane'ah Raza and Hayyim Paltiel specifically link pakad to a return of menstruation. They reference the talmudic expression mi-pekidah li-fkida, meaning "from one menstrual cycle to the next," as an example of this usage.

In a recent article in the JBQ, I suggested that akarah ... ein lah valad in Genesis 11:30 meant that Sarah was infertile due to an "unattached follicle. …

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