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Someone recently told me that they were taught as a child that Og was the one who told Sarah about the Akeidah, causing her death. I always understood it as the Satan. Indeed, that's what Midrash Tanchuma Vayeira § 23 and one version of Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezer (Chapter 32, Zichron Aharon ed.) say (Rashi to Genesis 23:2 brings similarly, although he doesn't mention the Satan).

I looked all over and found no version of the Midrash that says it was Og, and assumed this person was mistaken. Then I found on Otzar HaChochmah the sefer Kuntres Be'er HaMegillah, which says that Chazal tell us that Og was the one who informed Sarah.

Now, either this sefer is also mistaken, or there's some Midrash that I can't find. Where, if anywhere, does it say that Og told her about the Akeidah?

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    Pirkei d'rabbi Eliezer 32 has Samae"l. Perhaps it's a conflation with the Medrash about Og (hapalit) telling Avraham about Lot's capture (cited by Rashi on Gen. 14:13).
    – Loewian
    Nov 21, 2019 at 5:31
  • @Robev what text do you use to be able to check dozens of different midrashim by a certain question, like who told Sarah etc, in a short amount of time? I have not found any text in english that makes this a quick process, so wondering what your system is if you wouldnt mind sharing that. Mar 29 at 19:37
  • @ShipBuilding well two things: 1) I don't look in English, I look at different Midrashim in their original Hebrew 2) who says it took a short amount of time? :-) I just spent thirty minutes looking into this question again and looked at 7 different versions of this Midrash. Torah Sheleimah is a resource I use a lot, although not in this case.
    – robev
    Mar 29 at 19:40
  • Wasn't Eliezer traditionally one of the the two extras Avraham took with him? Can't do the whole Og=Eliezer thing if he was around for Sarah to ask.
    – Nic
    Mar 30 at 19:49
  • @Nic some Midrashim equate Og with Eliezer, but I see no contradiction. After the Akeidah Og/Eliezer went and told Sarah...
    – robev
    Mar 30 at 20:42

1 Answer 1

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I suspect that the word עוג in Kuntress Be'er HaMegillah is a typo and should actually read as the abbreviation, עו״ג which means עובד גילולים, an idol worshipper. The Pirkei d'Rabbi Eliezer 32:8 references a specific angel (the Angel of Death) that would have been working through some human agent. But it does not mention who that specific individual was by name.

But as a point of reference, Sefer HaYashar says something exactly like this at the end of parshat Vayera which says:

הנה השטן בא אל שרה בדמות איש כו׳

Together with other sources it points out that Sarah left her home and went to the city of Chevron looking for Avraham and her son when she became worried at the time of the Akeidah.

Sarah did this because that is the original direction that Avraham indicated he would go when he departed for the Akeidah.

Chevron was at that time a Canaanite city called Kiryat Arba, named after its King and founder, Arba. Arba was the greatest of the Anakim, the giants who originally inhabited the land of Israel according to Yehoshua 14:15 and 15:13. These were individuals who had followed the path of Enosh and his generation and the development of idol worship.

Og was another of those giants, who was the King of Bashan according to Devarim 3:11.

Because they were related, this may have been the association with Og as the individual who told Sarah.

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  • Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezer says the Angel of Death was working through some agent? Or that last part is your suggestion. Since when does the Angel of Death work through human intervention?
    – robev
    Nov 21, 2019 at 18:42
  • @robev In general, angels influence what is already in place in the material world. That's how the system is set up. There are occasional exceptions mentioned in Torah to that rule. But not usually. Nov 21, 2019 at 18:48
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    Shach Al Hatorah (beta.hebrewbooks.org/reader/…) says that she asked Achiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the giants in Chevron, and they said they saw Avraham and Yitzchak from afar, with Avraham about to sacrifice Yitzchak. So it could be that the author of the book in the OP confused them with Og (all of them being giants).
    – Meir
    Nov 21, 2019 at 19:08
  • @Meir That's a good source, but I'm not sure who or what Achiman, Sheshai and Talmai are exactly. They, together with their 4th partner, Shalom, appear in several places in Tanach. They appear to be angelic influences in some contexts. If you read Shach carefully, they seem to be traveling with Samael and Sarah communicates with them prophetically. Nov 21, 2019 at 20:15
  • Huh? In the 3 places in Tanach where they appear, they're giants who live in Chevron, and in 2 of those places it describes how the Jews dispossessed/killed them. There's no Shalom with them anywhere. (There is a Shallum together with Achiman in Divrei Hayamim, among the gatekeepers of the Beis Hamikdash, but that's obviously not the same Achiman, any more so than Chanoch the son of Kayin is identical with Chanoch the son of Reuven.) Nor does Shach associate them with Sa"m at all; he just says that Sarah didn't believe the Satan's report, so she went to AS&T to ask them to look.
    – Meir
    Nov 21, 2019 at 20:30

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