YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
HaRav Yehuda Kreuser SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva
PARSHAT CHAYEI SARAH
24 Marcheshvan 5769/21-22 November 2008
THE DEED - AT WHAT COST?
"Abraham listened to Ephron, and Abraham weighed out to Ephron the money that he had mentioned in the hearing of the children of Heth, four hundred silver shekalim in negotiable currency. And Ephron's field that was in Machpelah, that was facing Mamre, stood - the field and the cave within it and all the trees in the field, within its entire boundary all around - as Abraham's as a purchase in the view of the children of Heth, with all who came to the gate of his city."
And so, the Torah tells us of the long and hard negotiations between Abraham and the children of Heth in which he obtained the property of the Machpelah in Hebron. Today, they tell us that there is no alternative to direct talks, and the proof would be from here, as Abraham, after negotiating long and hard, finally came to an understanding with the children of Heth who have been living in the land from time immemorial.
But at what price? At what cost to Abraham and his descendants?
Our Rabbis teach us in the Midrash, that the children of Heth refused time and time again to listen to Abraham and to sell him the cave. Finally, the only option open for Abraham to which the children of Heth would agree, was to exchange the property of the Machpelah for another part of Israel: Har HaMoriah - the Temple Mount.
With no other option, Abraham not only paid the high price of 400 silver shekalim, but also gave the Temple Mount to the descendants of the children of Heth forever. So we find that when Joshua entered the Land of Israel, he killed the king of Jerusalem but did not conquer Jerusalem. But the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusite inhabitant of Jerusalem, so the Jebusite dwelt with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem until this day. Now even though they killed the king of Jerusalem, they still did not take the city, not because they were unable to but because they were not permitted. Why? Because it was given to the children of Heth from the time of Abraham, and they settled in Jerusalem.
But there were other inhabitants of Jerusalem whom the Jewish people could not remove, they being the children of the Philistines with whom Abraham had made an additional agreement: Abimelech, king of the Philistines. "So Abraham took flocks and cattle and gave them to Abimelech, and the two of them entered into a covenant." Regarding this covenant with the Philistines, G-d said: I gave you the Land and to your descendants, and you made a covenant to allow his children and grandchildren to live here, after I commanded the children of Israel not to allow any of them to live? I swear that the Philistines will kill 7 of your righteous descendants, and destroy 7 houses of worship, and control the Holy Ark for 7 months.
It was not until the time of David that the covenant with the Philistines that Abraham made (and which was reinforced by Isaac), was over. It was for this reason that finally, the Jewish people under King David were able to conquer the city of Jerusalem.
Still, the area of the Temple Mount stayed under the control of Araunah a descendant of the children of Heth, who was given this area for exchange of the property of the Machpelah. It was not until King David was able to convince Araunah to sell the property, that it finally came over to the possession of the Jewish people forever.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all made treaties with the nations that lived here. Still, Hashem did not look upon this as a good thing and the Jewish people paid the price throughout our history. Although these nations were here at the beginning of the "dawn" of the Jewish people, today all that has changed; the Jewish people have come home. We have arrived.
It is not for nothing that the ruling of the supreme court of Israel to remove Jews from Jewish property in Hebron falls on the parsha of "Chayei Sarah", the parsha in which Abraham purchased the Machpelah.
As our rabbis teach us, three places in the Land of Israel cannot be claimed by the nations: Hebron, the Temple Mount and Joseph's tomb. It is time to show that deed of possession of the Land to ourselves, and finally have the courage to tell the world that there is only one owner to the land of Israel - the Jewish people.
With love of Israel,
Today we all know that Rabbi Kahane was right!
Help spread the Jewish Idea -
Join the Jewish Idea's E-mail list and spread the word!