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Parshat Chayei Sarah

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

In Parshat Chayei Sarah, Avraham’s wife Sarah passed away after learning that her son, Yitzchak, was about to be sacrificed. When Efron was selling Mearat Hamachpela to Avraham, Avraham said to him, "וְיִתֶּן־לִי אֶת־מְעָרַת הַמַּכְפֵּלָה אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ אֲשֶׁר בִּקְצֵה שָׂדֵהוּ בְּכֶסֶף מָלֵא יִתְּנֶנָּה לִּי בְּתוֹכְכֶם לַאֲחֻזַּת־קָבֶר" — “Give it to me for the full price let him in your midst as a burial place” (23:9). As we can see, the word “בתוככם” is translated to “in your midst.”

What did Avraham mean by specifying “in your midst?”

There was a decree against the Jewish community in Russia many years ago. Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchak Schneersohn, the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, traveled to Moscow to appeal to the relevant minister. “Did you bring along money for a bribe?” the minister asked the Rebbe. The Rebbe responded that he could easily provide for the minister what the Jews are worth to him. However, the Rabbi further explained, “What they are worth to me is more than all the money in the entire world.”

Avraham wanted to buy Maarat Hamachpela because Adam and Chavah were buried there. Therefore, the land was priceless to him. Efron, though, saw it as nothing more than a piece of ordinary land. Therefore, Avraham offered to pay Efron the “full price,” what the cave was worth to him (Efron), and therefore specified בתוככם” — “in your midst.”

By: Tova Bossewitch (9th)

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