by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS CHAYEI SOROH 5764 BS"D
Ch. 23, v. 1: "Mei'oh shonoh v'esrim shonoh v'sheva shonim" - One-hundred years and twenty years and seven years - Rashi says that Soroh at the age of twenty years was similar to her being seven years old regarding beauty. This is a bit puzzling, as women are more attractive at the age of twenty than at the age of seven. The Chizkuni explains that the comparison is of a twenty year old woman, who usually enhances her appearance by using facial cosmetics, to a seven year old girl. Just as a seven year old uses no make-up, so too, Soroh at the age of twenty was beautiful without using make-up.
The Rokei'ach's text is, "A woman of one-hundred like a woman of twenty regarding beauty, and a woman of twenty like a girl of seven regarding being sin-free."
Ch. 23, v. 2: "B'Kiryas Arba" - In Kiryas Arba - Rashi's second explanation is that this community was called Kiryas Arba because four couples were buried ther, Odom and Chavoh, Avrohom and Soroh, Yitzchok and Rivkoh, Yaakov and Leah. Since our verse uses this name before Yaakov was even born, we once again have an example of the Torah using a name of a place before it was named thus. The first example is in Breishis 2:13,14, where Rashi points out that the names Kush and Ashur would be given later and the Torah mentions them before this took place. Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel says that we do not have to say that the Torah mentions names before they existed. Simply, Moshe wrote the Torah after these names were already bestowed.
Rabbi Avrohom the son of the Rambam says that Arba is the name of the person who established and built the community. Minchoh Vluloh strongly disagrees with him, citing Breishis 35:27, where the verse says "Kiryas HOarba." Obviously if Arba is a proper noun we cannot place a definitive letter Hei in front of it. Rada"k alleviates this problem by saying that although it is a name, nevertheless the Torah may use a definitive Hei as a prefix because HOarba also connotes that Arba and his three sons lived there, a total of four people. Alternatively, Rabbeinu Yoel says that the extra letter Hei alludes to the four (arba) women who were buried there whose names all ended with the letter Hei.
Ch. 23, v. 3: "Va'yovo Avrohom" - And Avrohom came - The verse does not say that Yitzchok also came. Was he in attendance at his mother's funeral?
1) Yitzchok was not told that his mother died since she died at the time that she was told that Yitzchok was offered as a sacrifice. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
2) Yitzchok stayed on at Har Hamorioh as indicated by the words "va'yoshov Avrohom el n'orov" (Breishis 20:19) and was not aware that his mother died. He stayed there for three years, waiting until the age of 40 years to marry. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
3) Yitzchok was advised that his mother died but he did not attend her funeral because he went to the Yeshivoh of Shem to learn Torah. One is not to take off time from learning Torah even to be involved in burying someone provided that it is attended to by others. (Rabbeinu Yehudoh Chalavoh)
Ch. 23, v. 4: "Tnu li achuzas kever" - Give me a plot of land as a burial ground - Why did Avrohom wait until after Soroh's death to purchase a burial plot? As well, why was Soroh in Chevron at the time of her death, since they lived in B'eir Sheva? Soroh felt that her end was near and wanted to be buried in the land of Canaan, which would later be Eretz Yisroel. She felt that being buried there would add a spiritual cleansing as per the verse "v'chi'per admoso amo" (Dvorim 32:43). She therefore asked to be transported to Chevron. This is why our verse points out that Kiryas Arba/Chevron is in Canaan. Since Avrohom was not there, as he remained in B'eir Sheva, he was unable to purchase a burial plot for himself and for his wife. (Rabbi Efrayim Karo, uncle of the Beis Yoseif in Toldos Yitzchok)
This is a puzzling comment, as the verse clearly states that Yitzchok was in B'eir Sheva (Breishis 26:23) and we know that Yitzchok never left Eretz Yisroel (see Breishis 26:2 and Rashi). Chizkuni on 26:23 says that B'eir Sheva was close to Chevron, also indicating that it was in Eretz Yisroel.
The Minchoh Vluloh offers that Avrohom wanted to purchase the M'oras Hamachpeiloh as a burial place for his family. Had he started to negotiate with Efron during his wife's lifetime, Efron would have wondered why Avrohom wanted specifically this parcel of land. He would surely have discovered that Adom and Chavoh were buried there and would have either asked for an astronomical price or not agreed to sell it at all. Therefore Avrohom waited until Soroh died and Efron would assume that since she died in Chevron, Avrohom wanted to have her buried locally.
Ch. 23, v. 10: "B'oznei vnei Cheis" - Into the ears of the Hittites - As soon as Efron heard that Avrohom offered to pay top dollar, he immediately told all the Hittites in front of Avrohom that his property was worth 400 shekel kesef, a tidy sum. He then "generously" offered to give it gratis. Naturally, one is uncomfortable to accept a very expensive item without paying anything for it. Efron clearly showed that his magnanimous offer was not sincere. Verse 16 says, "Va'yishma Avrohom el Efron va'yishkol Avrohom l'Efron es ha'kesef asher diber B'OZNEI VNEI CHEIS arba mei'os shekel kesef." "Va'yishma" means "he understood" (see Rashi on SHMA Yisroel Dvorim 6:4). Avrohom understood that Efron was insincere since he publicly announced to the Hittites such an inflated value. (Rabbeinu Yehudoh Chalavoh)
Ch. 24, v. 31: "V'onochi pinisi habayis" - And I personally emptied the house - Rashi says that Lovon told Yaakov that he cleared the house of any vestiges of idols. Rabbi Yoseif Yozel Horowitz of Navaradok comments, "When Lovon saw that he had the opportunity to receive gold and silver from Yaakov he quickly threw out and negated his gods, the idols, for an even greater god, gold and silver.
Ch. 24, v. 42: "Vo'ovo ha'yom el ho'oyin" - And I have come today to the well - Rashi (gemara Sanhedrin 95a) says that Eliezer reached his destination on the day of his departure from Avrohom. The earth miraculously moved quickly and he was at his destination. When Yaakov headed back to Eretz Yisroel he traversed the same distance and places in the reverse direction. Why did the land not spring for him? We only find that this took place within Eretz Yisroel when Yaakov decided to retrace his steps to pray at Mount Morioh. The Chasam Sofer answers that Eliezer, a Canaanite, only experienced miraculously quick travel when exiting Eretz Yisroel, a precursor to Hashem's eventually ridding Eretz Yisroel of the Canaanites. Yaakov's natural habitat is Eretz Yisroel. When outside Eretz Yisroel he experienced no "kfitzas ha'derech." Once inside Eretz Yisroel and wanting to reach another destination within the Holy Land, Hashem indeed performed this miracle for him.
There seems to be some difficulty with this because Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter #16 states that Eliezer had "kfitzas ha'derech" on his way back as well and traversed the area from Aram Naharayim to Chevron in three hours (the same amount of time it took him from Chevron to the well).
Submission - Answer to a quetion on PArshas Va'yeiro-
This week you asked on the words "Vayikroah eilov malach Hashem min hashamayim" why couldnt the angel have been dispatched earlier? I was thinking about this and i thought of the Mishna in Prikei Avos "He who does a single mitzva gains a single advocate; he who does a single aveira gains a single accuser." This is similar to the Gemara in Shabbos that by doing mitzvos good angels are created while by doing aveiros bad angels are created. It is only by doing actions that we create these malachim (thoughts aren't enough, which is why the Rambam explains in Moreh Nevuchim that Hashem had Avraham go through the whole akeida even though he knew he would pass bc the point of nisayon - test is to bring potential to action - "koach el poel" - Hashem wanted to give him greater reward for his actual action). Therefore I was thinking that the explanation is that the malach could not have been sent earlier because it was through Avraham's action that it was created. When Avraham actually picked up the knife and put it to his son's neck that the malach was created and therefore spoke to Avraham from heaven so as not to waste a second which couldve been one second too long for Yitzchak.
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