by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS CHAYEI SOROH 5772 BS"D
Ch. 23, v. 2: "Vatomos Soroh" - And Soroh died - Rashi cites the medrash (see Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer ch. #32), which says that the soton told Soroh that Yitzchok was slaughtered by his father and her soul left her. The Chasam Sofer asks that this is most unusual. It seems that through an outright lie the soton frightened Soroh and brought about her death. He answers that based on the words of the Paanei'ach Rozo he understands that this was retribution in kind. Just as Soroh laughed when she heard from the angel of mercy that she would bear a son, and she didn't believe his words, so too, an angel of retribution brought about her death through saying something that was not to be believed. The Chasam Sofer ends with, "V'dovor godol di'beir hanovi," referring to the Paanei'ach Rozo.
Obviously, there is something to these last words, especially by calling the Paanei'ach Rozo a "novi." Perhaps he too looked into the future and saw that many of the bnei Yisroel would not take the words of the admonitions found in parshas Ki Sovo seriously, and in kind they were horrendously punished by falling victim to the hollow promises that they were being transported to pleasant work locations.
Ch. 23, v. 2: "Va'yovo Avrohom lispode l'Soroh" - And Avrohom came to eulogize Soroh - Where was Yitzchok? The M.R. 56:20 says that after the Akeidoh Avrohom sent Yitzchok to Shem's academy to study Torah. Rabbeinu Bachyei offers that since Soroh died upon hearing that Yitzchok was to be offered as a sacrifice people made sure to keep her death a secret from him so that he not have guilt pangs of being instrumental in her death. We can assume that he stayed at Har Hamorioh for three more years and when a wife was found for him he was called back home.
However, the Ibn Ezra and Radak both say that he came to his mother's funeral. The reason there is no mention of this is because he was ancillary to his father.
Ch. 23, v. 2: "V'livkosoh" - And to cry over her - The diminished letter Kof alludes to Avrohom's crying over the loss of Soroh in a diminished manner. Why indeed did he not cry over her loss in a regular manner? Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer says that the "akeidoh" took place on Yom Kippur. The distance from the location of the "akeidoh," Mount Morioh, back to his home was three days' travel, as it took three days from home to the mountain. He thus arrived home one or two days before Sukos. By the time Soroh was buried it was quite close to Sukos and in Sh.O. O.Ch. #548 it clearly states that a Yom Tov cuts "shivoh" short. Therefore Avrohom had a limited time to cry over her. (Maa'seh Rok'ei'ach)
Ch. 23, v. 2: "V'livkosoh" - And to cry over her - The diminished letter Kof alludes to Avrohom's crying over the loss of Soroh in a diminished manner. As Rashi explains, the first verse of our parsha teaches us that Soroh at the age of 100 years was similar to herself at the age of 20 years, free of sin. At the age of 20 see was similar to herself at the age of 7 years for beauty. Thus at the age of 20 years she was sin-free and beautiful. When Avrohom cried over her loss in regard to her life at the age of twenty, he only felt the loss of a sin-free wife, but did not concern himself with the loss of a beautiful wife. This is why the letter Kof is diminished, to allude to his only mourning over one of the two aspects of when she was 20 years old, in keeping with the verse in Mishlei 31, "Sheker hachein v'hevel ha'yofi ishoh yiras Hashem hee sis'halol." (Bikurei Oviv)
Ch. 23, v. 4: "Ger v'soshov onochi imochem" - A sojourner and a citizen am I with you - Avrohom was in a conundrum. If he were to say the truth, as Hashem had told him, that he had ownership of the land, and were he to declare that he is the owner of Eretz Yisroel, this would ignite their ire. If he were to say that he is but a sojourner, although it would satisfy the locals, it would not be the truth. He therefore cleverly said, "A sojourner and a citizen am I with you. They understood this as: Avrohom is the sojourner and we are the citizens. Avrohom's true intention was: Between the two of us one is a sojourner and one is a citizen. I am the citizen and owner, while you are the sojourners. (Ohel Yaakov)
Ch. 23, v. 16: "Arba mei'os shekel kesef" - Four-hundred shekel weight of silver - A simple person died in a community just outside Pressburg. His children got it into their heads that he should be buried in Pressburg in the row in which HRH"G Rabbi Meshulom Igra was buried. The chevra kadisha was none too pleased with this outlandish request and asked for an astronomical sum for the burial plot. The children did not accept this and said they were ready to pay a premium for the plot, but not an extreme amount. Upon agreeing to abide by the decision of the Chasam Sofer they came to hear his ruling. He took note of the M.R. 58:9, which resoundingly criticizes Efron for asking for so much money for the burial plot for Soroh, applying the verse, "Nivohol l'hone ish ra ayin (Mishlei 28:22). Rashi on Breishis 50:5 says that Eisov accepted a pile of money, equal to all that Yaakov amassed during the time he was with Lovon. This was obviously numerous times more than the 400 shekel kesef that Efron received. If so, why is Efron resoundingly criticized and not Eisov? The answer is that Efron was not aware that Odom and Chavoh were buried there. Thinking that it was a plain, unimportant piece of land, his request was money-gluttonous. Eisov however, knew that Odom, Chavoh, Avrohom, Soroh, etc. were buried there. Asking for an astronomical amount for a burial plot there was within reason. (Zer Zohov)
Ch. 24, v. 7: "V'lokachto ishoh livni l'Yitzchok" - And you shall take a woman for my son for Yitzchok - A person who lived in Yerusholayim had a daughter who reached marriageable age. He went to Bnei Brak to Yeshivas Ponovizh and met with the Rosh Hayeshiva HRH"G Rabbi Shmuel Rozovski. A certain student on the yeshiva was mentioned to him as a possible match and he asked the Rosh Hayeshiva numerous questions about him, all in the realm of learning prowess, diligence, and his seriousness about davening. He received a glowing report on all fronts and seemed quite pleased and was ready to thank the Rosh Hayeshiva and leave.
The Rosh Hayeshiva said that he would likewise want to ask a few questions. He asked why the petitioner did not ask questions like: Is the boy neat? Does he practice good hygiene? Does he keep his bed and objects in the dorm room neat? Does he hurry to the dining room and grab a large portion for himself, knowing that the portions for those who come later will become smaller and smaller? Does he ever enter the food preparation rooms and thank the cooks? If the food does not please him does he eat it anyway, or does he go to a local restaurant or fast-food place instead? When the pitcher of water on the table is empty does he take it and fill it up for the whole table? Etc., etc.
Since you are looking for a husband for your daughter, do you think a boy who is a good learner and is diligent is good marriage material if after his wife slaves to prepare him food and when sometimes it does not please him he leaves it over, or if he is unpleasant to stand near because of sloppy hygiene, will his wife be satisfied by hearing that he learned well today? (Rabbi M.M. Schulzinger)
Ch. 24, v. 54: "Va'yochlu va'yishtu hu v'ho'anoshim asher imo" - And they ate and they drank he and the people who were with him - What did they eat and drink? "Asher imo," only the food that he had with him. They did not trust the kashrus of this home. (Imrei Kohein)
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