Salt, Tears and Laughter
Have you ever laughed so much that you cried? Or the reverse: sobbed uncontrollably until your tears were dry,all you could taste was salt, and you could understand why Lot's wife was said to have turned into a pillar of salt? Our Biblical Mother,Sarah, would have had a thing or two to say about tears of laughter and tears of joy. Upon hearing that she would have a child when she was past childbearing age, and to paraphrase, "with my husband so old," Sarah laughed. After many years of channeling her maternal instinct into partnering with Abraham to welcome the stranger (even while mistreating the foreigner, Hagar, her handmaiden), she will finally have the longed for offspring. And let's face it, neither she nor her husband were spring chickens anymore:) She also names her son "Laughter" (Isaac in Hebrew), almost as if admitting to God that she had doubts, but was glad to have been proven wrong! She may have even relaxed about Hagar, the handmaiden for awhile, until she happened to notice them playing and her jealousy got the best of her once again.Hagar and Ishmael were sent packing (Perhaps this was a test that Abraham failed). When God again tests Abraham, it is to seemingly require him to sacrifice his and Sarah's son, or at least prove to be willing to do it, if God asked. Some commentators suggest that Abraham actually failed this test, because an angel had to call out to him to stop. Sarah, who was a prophetess after all, had a vision of her son seemingly being sacrificed by her husband, and died on the spot, according to one legend (See Etz Chayyim, p.127). I can imagine her actually choking on her tears and heaving grief. Both kinds of tears are represented in this headress named after our Matriarch: the brighter, sparkly beads represent the laughter, and the darker shades represent the tears.
You can see more pictures of the headress here