by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS CHA'YEI SOROH 5762 BS"D
Ch. 23, v. 2: "Va'yovo Avrohom lispode l'Soroh v'liv*k*osoh" - The Baal Haturim writes that the letter Kof in "v'liv*k*osoh" is small to indicate that Avrohom's crying for the death of Soroh was limited. Rabbi Mordechai of Apt explains that this was because of the ruling in the gemara Mo'eid Koton 27b that the first three days after a death are for crying and the last four days of the "shivoh" are for eulogy. Avrohom was at Har Hamorioh when he became aware of Soroh's death and immediately set out for Chevron (M.R. 58:5 in disagreement with our Rashi who says he came from B'eir Sheva). This was a three-day trip, as we find that from Chevron to Har Hamorioh for Akeidas Yitzchok took three days (22:4). When he reached home the main time for crying had passed, so his crying was limited. It seems that this would also explain why he first eulogized her, and only afterwards cried for her passing, "lispode l'Soroh v'livkosoh."
Another explanation for the diminutive letter Kof in "v'liv*k*osoh" is offered by Horav Sholo-m Shachna of Lublin. The medrash says that Avrohom had a daughter who also died at the same time. The diminishing of the letter Kof allows for this word to also be read without this letter, leaving us with "ul'vitoh," - and for her daughter.
Ch. 23, v. 2: "Lispode l'Soroh" - Tosefta Gitin chapter #3 says that it is proper to deliver a eulogy even for an idol worshipper who has done acts of kindness for bnei Yisroel.
Ch. 23, v. 3: "Va'y'da'beir el bnei Cheis" - The M.R. 58:8 states: Rabbi Elozor said, "How much ink has been spilled and how many quills have broken in the process of repetitively writing the words "bnei Cheis" ten times regarding the purchase of the burial site by Avrohom. This teaches us that whoever facilitates a clearly defined sale (leaves no room for misunderstanding) for a righteous person, it is as if he has fulfilled the Ten Commandments. A careful counting yields only eight "bnei Cheis" and not ten. How does the M.R. arrive at ten? Answer next week.
Ch. 23, v. 6: "Shomanu adoni" - Even though the residents of Chevron including Efrone called Avrohom "my master" numerous times during the negotiations for a burial site (v. 6,11,15), Avrohom never called them or Efrone "adoni." Avrohom was careful to not use this title because he felt it appropriate only when addressing Hashem. The gemara Brochos 7a states that from the day of the creation of the world no one called Hashem MASTER until Avrohom did so (Breishis 15:2). (Tal'lei Orose)
A publisher of a new edition of a siddur came to the GR"A with his siddur that contained his personal commentary. The GR"A began looking through it and right at the beginning of the siddur came upon an explanation for starting Shacharis prayers with the poem "Adone olom." Since Avrohom established the Shacharis service and he gave a unique praise to Hashem, calling Him "Odone," it is only fitting to likewise begin our Shacharis prayer with words of praise using the appellation "Odone." The GR"A greatly lauded this insight, stating that had this new edition of a siddur only been printed for this one "vort," its printing would still be very worth while.
Ch. 23, v. 8: "Ufigu li b'Efrone ben Tzochar" - The M.R. 58:6 says that Avrohom requested a real estate agent to act as a go between between himself and Efrone. Why was this necessary? The Pnei Aryeh Zuta answers that Tosfos on the gemara B.K. 62a d.h. "chamson" says that the concept that "lo sachmode" (Shmos 20:14) means that it is prohibited to take an object from another without paying is accurate. This is difficult to reconcile with the gemara (ad loc.) that says that a "gazlon" takes and does not pay, while a "chamson" takes against the will of the owner but does pay.
We can answer that if one goes directly to the owner and acquires the object against the will of the owner, for example if the purchaser is a man of such stature that the owner is embarrassed to deny the request, even if payment is given, the purchaser is a "chamson." If one sends a go between, then only if no money is given is one considered a "chamson." This is because the owner is not pressured to sell, as he is not dealing directly with the person of stature. Avrohom wanted to avoid being a "chamson," and since he knew that he was very highly regarded by the bnei Cheis, as is stated in verse 6, "n'see Elokim a'toh b'socheinu," he requested a real estate agent to act as a go between.
I have a bit of difficulty with this answer, as we are still left with the difficulty of what is the difference between a "gazlon" who takes and does not pay, and a "chamson" who does not pay. The above mentioned Tosfos says that on a Torah level they are one and the same, but on a Rabbinical level, what is the difference?
Ch. 24, v. 10: "V'chol tuv adonov b'yodo" - Rashi (M.R. 59:11) says that Avrohom gave Eliezer a signed document that bequeathed all of Avrohom's possessions to Yitzchok as an inducement to have Avrohom's relatives agree to give Rivkoh in marriage to Yitzchok. The Pnei Aryeh of Stanislov explains that this served the purpose of allowing Eliezer to complete the marriage commitment, serving as an halachically binding representative. As a rule a slave cannot serve as an agent, i.e. that his actions should be binding for the one who appointed him. However, one's own servant may serve as an agent since he is owned by his master, and it is thus considered that the hand of the servant is the hand of the master. This does precious little to help in our situation, as Yitzchok was the prospective groom, not Avrohom. Therefore Avrohom signed over all his possessions to Yitzchok, including ownership of Eliezer, so that Eliezer's actions on behalf of Yitzchok would be binding.
Ch. 24, v. 42: "Vo'ovo ha'yom" - The gemara Sanhedrin 95a states that Eliezer told the members of Rivkoh's family that he left Chevron and arrived in Choron on the same day. What necessitated Eliezer's giving this point of information? On a simple level one can answer that he was showing them that he had supernatural Heavenly help in making the trip, and that this was an indication that the marriage should go through. Alternatively, some commentators offer that Rashi (M.R. 59:11) on 24:10 says that Avrohom gave Eliezer a signed document that bequeathed all of Avrohom's possessions to Yitzchok. This document had a date of issue. Eliezer found it necessary to explain how the date of issue was not many days earlier than his arrival, so that the prospective "m'chutonim" should not think that it was a bogus document.
Ch. 24, v. 42: "Vo'ovo ha'yom el ho'oyin" - Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter #16 says that the normal travel time from Chevron to Choron is 17 days. However, Eliezer's trip took only three hours. The gemara Sanhedrin 95a states that Eliezer told the members of Rivkoh's family that he left Chevron and arrived in Choron on the same day. Horav Dovid Oppenheim explains why Eliezer's "kfitzas ha'derech," high-speed travel, took exactly three hours. He says that Eliezer started out on his trip on the first day of Sukos. (I don't know his source for this. Perhaps according to the opinion that the Akeidoh took place on Yom Kippur, and it took three days to return to Chevron, plus the day of eulogy and wailing in mourning, we are in the 14th of Tishrei. That evening, the first day of Sukos ended the "shivoh," and on the next morning Avrohom dispatched Eliezer.) As a servant of Avrohom he was bound by the negative commands, mitzvos "lo saa'seh," and there is a Torah restriction to travel beyond 12 mil on Shabbos or Yom Tov. The average distance covered by a person in an hour is 4 mil. Thus in three hours one covers 12 mil, and can go no further on Shabbos or Yom Tov. In three hours Eliezer traversed the maximum he was allowed to travel and Hashem miraculously transported him to his destination in a moment.
Ch. 24, v. 53: "Va'yotzei ho'e'ved klei chesef uchlei zohov uvgodim va'yi'tein l'Rivkoh umigdonos nosan l'ochihoh ul'imoh" - The Taamo Dikro notes that we find that the items given to Rivkoh were durable, while the items given to her brothers and mother were not. He explains that this is in consonance with halacha. The gemara Avodoh Zoroh 8a says that when an idol worshipper makes a festive meal in celebration for a child, that day is equated with a day of his religious holiday. When a religious holiday is coming up for an idol worshipper, we are prohibited from selling him an item of durability, as he might so appreciate having this item that on his holiday he possibly would give thanks to his idol for bringing the item his way. Thus Eliezer offered Rivkoh's brothers and mother sweets only. With Rivkoh there was no such fear, so he gave her items that were long lasting.
Ch. 24, v. 67: "Va'y'vi'ehoh Yitzchok ho'oheloh" - At a wedding we have the custom (some say it is based on halacha) to have the choson enter the chupoh before the kaloh does, and the kaloh enters the "yichud" chamber ahead of the choson. Perhaps this is sourced from the words of the Holy Zohar in parshas P'kudei who says that you first bring the kaloh to the choson and then the choson to the kaloh.
Ch. 24, v. 67: "Va'yinocheim Yitzchok acha'rei imo" - Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter #32 says that Yitzchok mourned his mother for three years.
Ch. 25, v. 9: "Va'yik'b'ru oso Yitzchok v'Yishmo'eil bonov" - The gemara B.B. 16b says that Yishmo'eil repented for his bad ways, as indicated by our verse, where Yitzchok is mentioned before Yishmo'eil, indicating that Yishmo'eil allowed Yitzchok to take the lead in the activities surrounding the burial of Avrohom, and did not insist that he, Yishmo'eil, be given priority by virtue of being older. How is this an act of repentance for earlier wrongdoing? Horav Yaakov Yoseif Herman of "All for the Boss" fame answers that the Ramban on Breishis 21:9 explains that "ben Hogor haMitzris .. m'tzacheik" means that Yishmo'eil belittled and ridiculed Yitzchok. This was more than sufficient cause for Soroh to have Hogor and Yishmo'eil sent away. Thus by Yishmo'eil's giving Yitzchok proper honour, he repented for his previous negative behaviour.
The Meshech Chochmoh answers with the words of the Sforno on 21:9. Verse 8 states that Avrohom made a festive meal upon the occasion of Yitzchok's being weaned. Yishmo'eil's scoffing in the next verse refers to the festive meal Avrohom gave. Yishmo'eil mocked, saying that Yitzchok was not the son of Avrohom, but rather, the son of Avimelech, a result of the happenings related in chapter 20. Thus when he included Yitzchok in the burial activities of Avrohom, this was an act of repentance, as he clearly rescinded his previous opinion, rather than saying that Yitzchok had no business involving himself with the burial of Avrohom, as he wasn't even his son.
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See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha
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