Vertluch: Parshas Chayei Sarah


Chazal teach usthat the Torah was written so preciselythat there is not even one extra letter written in the Torah. Yet, if you were to look through the entire sefer Bereishis you would notice that just about every time the Torah mentions the Me’aras haMachpela, the Torahlaunches into the history of how it was purchased. It repeats the story in fulldetail. There doesn’t seem to be any apparent reason that the Torah needs to explain its history everytime it is mentioned.

If you look even further, in parshas Vayechi (49; 29),you will note that when Yaakov tells Yosef he wishes to be buried in the Me’aras haMachpela the Torah again stresses its complete history.And when the brothers actually bury Yaakov(50; 13) it goes through it again. What seems to be the reason that the Torah goes into a history lesson everytime it mentions the Me’aras haMachpela?

Additionally, why was it necessary for the Torah to go into such great detail aboutthe actual purchase of land by AvrahamAvinu? Why such detail about exactly howAvraham purchased the land?

Malbim brings amedrash that says ‘How much inkwas spilled? How many feathers were worn out every single time to write thewords bnei Ches? 10 times! What does this teach us?  The answer is that anyone who understands thepurchase of the tzadik Avraham, it is as if they fulfilled the TenCommandments.’ What exactly does this mean and what connection does thishave with the Aseres haDibros? Answers the Malbim, that Avraham Avinu was attempting to educate the world on one of themost fundamental ideas of yiddishkeit.That a neshama has a life afterdeath; after the neshama departs fromthe soul, it enters into an eternal world-uncomprehendable by humans. Until Avraham Avinu came along, the world would assume the reason a body is put intothe ground was to get rid of it; it gives off a bad odor; it’s useless, etc.Comes along Avraham Avinu and He makes a whole production;he makes an elaborate transaction in order to purchase this land. Why? He wasshowing the world that we don’t just dig a hole and stuff a body in it; we haveto inter someone with dignity, in a respectable manner and in a respectableplace. We are very particular with how we treat the dead. When we bury someonewe’re not signifying the end of life. Yes, the physical life may have endedbut, we are indicating the beginning of the eternal life that the neshama begins.

Someone who eternalizes Avraham Avinu’s purchaseof this property, is considered as if he fulfilled the Aseres HaDibros-becauseour goal in this world is to get up to the next world and to benefit Mi’ziv HaShechina (from the rays of the Shechina). It is for this reason thatevery time we have added another Forefatherinto the Me’aras haMachpela we gothrough the entire story of how it was purchased-to show us that they livedtheir lives as a continuation of AvrahamAvinu -knowing that when they are buried it’s the beginning of their newlife.

Too many tragedies have recently occurred, both near andfar. There are so many questions: How? Why? What now? We’re still reeling in griefof the petirah of the RoshHayeshiva Zt’l’ and we feel left alone. But if we are to look and see whatthe Rosh Hayeshiva Zt’l accomplishedand how he conducted his life we can develop some sort of comfort knowing thatthe Rosh Hayeshiva Zt’l is now benefiting from what he toiled in.

The two boys from Yeshiva of Waterbury…what is there tosay? No one knows the heavenly cheshbon.But, if we look at their past and see how each one of them conducting theirlives-always striving to attend minyan,being machnis orach weekly, yearning for learning, always being mechazek weaker boys, always b’simcha-then we can develop a sense ofcomfort knowing that they performed all their earthly duties properly and arenow reaping their reward in shomayim-inthe eternal world.

It should be a lesson for all of us what to strive for andfor how to conduct our daily lives. Not for ourselves and not for thisworld-but for what Avraham Avinushowed us-many times over…to know that our tachlis in this world is to prepare ourselves for the next worldand by burying someone we symbolize the beginning of their eternal world-thereal world-where they will benefit from the actions they performed on this world.