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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 23, v. 2: "B'Kiryas Arba" - In Kiryas Arba - What is the source of this name?

1) Four giants, Achimon, Sheishay, Talmay, and their father, lived there. (Rashi)

2) Four couples would eventually be buried there in the M'oras Hamachpeiloh, Odom-Chavoh, Avrohom-Soroh, Yitzchok-Rivkoh, and Yaakov-Leah. (Rashi) 3) The person who founded the community was named Arba. (Rabbi Avrohom ben hoRambam)

4) The first king who ruled over the community was named Arba. (Rabbi Avrohom ben hoRambam)

5) Whoever is buried there will have his soul joined in the upper spheres with four camps of Hashem's Holy Spirit. (Toldos Yitzchok)

6) There were four Jewish owners of the community, the tribe of Yehudoh, Ko'leiv, the Kohanim, the Leviim. (Chizkuni)

7) Avrohom came from there. About him the verse says, "Mi ho'ir mimizrach tzedek" (Yeshayohu 41:2). "Mizrach" refers to the sun lighting up the world as it appears from the east. The celestial bodies were put into place on the fourth day of creation. (Medrash Hagodol)

8) There were four things that took place when Soroh died; she heard negative news about her son Yitzchok, she cried bitterly over her son's fate, she herself died, and there was no complete simchoh in her family from that point on. (Medrash Hagodol)

Explanations 2, 6, and 8 encompass future happenings, thus the name Kiryas Arba in our verse is used "al sheim ho'osid."

Reasons 3 and 4 offered by Rabbi Avrohom ben hoRambam are disputed by Minchoh V'luloh. He brings the verse "Kiryas HO'Arba," (Breishis 35:27. The definitive letter Hei cannot be used with a name.

Ch. 23, v. 2: "Lispod l'Soroh v'livkosoh" - To eulogize Soroh and to cry over her - Rashi explains the juxtaposition of the death of Soroh to the earlier chapter of the Akeidoh. Soroh was apprised of Yitzchok's being brought as a sacrifice and upon hearing this her soul left her. Rashi's words are, "v'chim'at shelo nish'chat." Literally these words should be translated as, "and almost that he wasn't slaughtered." This is the opposite of what took place, as Yitzchok was almost slaughtered, not almost not slaughtered.

The Trumas Ha'deshen in Biu'rei Mahara"y explains Rashi's words as follows: A news bearer came to tell Soroh that Yitzchok was brought to be slaughtered. He was about to add the words, "and he wasn't slaughtered," but before he got these words out of his mouth Soroh had already passed on. Rashi is saying "v'chim'at," and it was but a moment until she would be told "shelo nish'chat."

Mei'siach Ilmim says that Rashi really means "v'chim'at shenish'chat," but Rashi didn't want to write such a negative concept, so he added the word "lo," but in reality meant the opposite.

The Riv"o says that the correct text in Rashi is "v'chim'at lo nish'chat" (he removes the letter Shin from "shelo"). The meaning is that it was but by a hair's breadth that he wasn't slaughtered, as Avrohom was poised to slaughter him.

Ch. 23, v. 2: "Lispod l'Soroh v'livkosoh" - To eulogize Soroh and to cry over her - Why doesn't the verse also mention to bury her? Avrohom came to Chevron to eulogize and to cry over Soroh, but his coming to Chevron did not definitely include that he would bury her there, as he wasn't sure that he would be able to purchase a plot for her. If it wouldn't work out he planned to bury her in B'eir Sheva. (Tosfos Hasho'leim)

Ch. 23, v. 9: "M'oras Hamachpeiloh" - The cave of the double - The cave was called "doubled" because Odom, who was buried there, had his body doubled over. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 23, v. 15: "Arba Mei'os shekel kesef" - Four-hundred silver shekel - The word "mei'os" is spelled here without a Vov, while in verse 16 it is spelled full, with a Vov. This indicates that although originally Efron agreed to even accept 400 silver shekel that were worn down and worth less, nevertheless, upon closing the sale he insisted upon only mint condition coins. (Mahar"i Chalavoh)

Ch. 23, v. 15: "Oveir lasocheir" - Acceptable for commerce - Efron was so money hungry that he wanted to make sure that each coin was complete and had full weight. On the other hand he was embarrassed to confront Avrohom with any faulty coins. He therefore stipulated that Avrohom no give him the money directly, but rather, to give it to the merchant with whom Efron did business, either as payment for merchandise or on account. If the merchant would find fault with any of the coins he would come back to Avrohom to complain. (Toldos Yitzchok)

Ch. 24, v. 1: "VaShem beirach es Avrohom bakole" - And Hashem blessed Avrohom with everything - The gemara B.B. 16b and 141a brings the opinion that Avrohom had a daughter whose name was Bakole. Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel asks, "according to this opinion why didn't Yitzchok marry his sister Bakole? Since this was before Matan Torah a sister is permitted." He answers that Bakole was the daughter of Hogor. Yitzchok was a firstborn to his mother Soroh. Firstborns had the status of Kohanim at the time and behaved in compliance with all Kohein sanctities and restrictions. Bakole had the status of a maidservant or at best a convert, both prohibited to a Kohein.

On a lighter note, since there is a disagreement in the above-mentioned gemara on the meaning of "bakole," Avrohom did not want to introduce his son to a "machlo'kes." (Heard from my Chumash Rebbi nR"U many decades ago)

Ch. 24, v. 1: "VaShem beirach es Avrohom bakole" - And Hashem blessed Avrohom with everything - Rashi explains that the numerical value of "bakole" is 52, equal to "ben," a son, i.e. Yitzchok. The gemara B.B. 16b and 141a says that Avrohom was blessed with a daughter who was named "Bakole." There is a novel understanding of Breishis 20:16 offered by Rabbeinu Tovioh. Avimelech tells Soroh that he gave Avrohom 1,000 units of silver to take remove any negative hearsay. The final words of Avimelech are "v'eis kole v'nochochas." Rashi explains this to mean "And for all who come to question if Avimelech misused Soroh, this would be a proof."

Rabbeinu Tovioh says that this was an additional gift that Avimelech gave. He said that besides giving Avrohom gifts he now offered Soroh her own personal servant and maidservant. These two people were his top servants. The man was given the name "Kole" because he was in charge of all matters, and the woman was given the name "Tochachas" as she would rebuke anyone who did not do his job properly (a bit like having a Rosh Yeshivoh and a Mashgiach). Perhaps we can say that now that Soroh died Avrohom had use of Kole who was a capable manager. Hashem thus blessed Avrohom with the servant Kole.

Ch. 24, v. 10: "V'chol tuv adonov" - And all good of his master - Rabbeinu Shmuel from Russia (a Rishon) says that this refers to a writ of emancipation, "get shichrur." Perhaps this is alluded to in the word "tuv." Its numerical value is equal to "ha'get."

Ch. 24, v. 16: "B'suloh v'ish lo y'do'oh" - A virgin and a man did not have relations with her - Doesn't saying that she was a virgin preclude a man having relations with her? See Rashi who answers this question. According to the opinion that Rivkoh was married to Yitzchok at three years of age, a second question arises. Even if a man had relations with her she would still remain a virgin since she was under three years old. We must say that nevertheless, this act would still detract from her purity. If so, does this also answer Rashi's question? No it doesn't. If the Torah wanted to tell us that Rivkoh was not only a virgin, but that she was not tainted at all, it would have sufficed to state "v'ish lo y'do'oh." (Trumas Ha'deshen in Biu'rei Mahara"y)

Ch. 24, v. 16: "Va'tei'red ho'einoh .. vato'al" - And she descended to the wellspring .. and she ascended - Why does the Torah tell us that she had to descend to draw water from the well? Perhaps it is to bring to our attention the greatness of her act of kindness. Not only did she draw water numerous times for Eliezer, his entourage, and the camels, but each time she drew water she had to shlep it uphill from the well.

Ch. 24, v. 17: "Va'yorotz ho'evved likrosoh" - And the servant ran TOWARDS her - The Ralbag writes that Rivkoh had completed filling her bucket and was on her way home. If so, why doesn't the verse say that he ran "acha'rehoh," - AFTER her? The Minchoh V'luloh says that it is from the word "likrosoh" that the M.R. chapter #60 derives that Eliezer noted that the water rose "TOWARDS her." Perhaps this is the intention of Rashi in d.h. "Va'yorotz."

Ch. 24, v. 20: "Va't'ma'heir .. vatorotz" - And she hurried .. and she ran - In verse 28 we again have "vatorotz." Perhaps, besides Rivkoh's hurrying to show the travelers that they were important people (Sforno) and to provide drink to quench their thirst, she hurried simply because doing all this chesed delayed her return home and she did not want her parents to worry about her, especially as it was already "l'eis erev" (verse 11), and no doubt the skies were darkening quickly. Often people do mitzvos that inadvertently cause others worry and concern. Rivkoh tried to avoid this as much as possible.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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