Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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

2) 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.

3) Ch. 23, v. 3: "Va'yovo Avrohom" - And Avrohom came - The verse does not say that Yitzchok also came. Did he attend his mother's funeral?

4) Ch. 23, v. 16: "Va'yishkol Avrohom l'Efron ...... arba mei'ose shekel kesef" - Where else, in relation to stinginess, greediness, or jealousy, do we find the number 400 in Tanach?

5) Ch. 24, v. 19: "Vatchal l'hashkoso vatomer gam ligma'lecho eshov" - Why did Rivkoh give Eliezer water to drink before giving the camels? Isn't there a rule that one must feed animals before feeding humans?



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 cites the verse "Kiryas HO'Arba," (Breishis 35:27. The definitive letter Hei cannot be used with a name.


1) The Trumas Ha'deshen in Biu'rei Mahara"i 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."

2) 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.

3) 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.


1) Yitzchok was not told that his mother died since she upon being told that Yitzchok was offered as a sacrifice. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

2) Yitzchok stayed on at Har Hamorioh as indicated by the words "va'yoshov Avrohom el n'orov" (Breishis 20:19), and not "va'yoshuvu." He was not aware that his mother died. He stayed there for three years, waiting until the age of 40 years to marry. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

3) Yitzchok was advised that his mother died but he did not attend her funeral because he went to the Yeshivoh of Shem to learn Torah. One is not to take off time from learning Torah even to be involved in burying someone, provided that it is tended to by others. (Rabbeinu Yehudoh Chalavoh)


The Kli Yokor says that we find the number 400 connected to stinginess and jealousy in four places.

1) When the brothers of Yoseif were jealous of Yoseif's receiving special treatment from their father. This brought about an exile that lasted 400 years.

2) When Eisov was jealous that Yaakov received the blessings from their father Yitzchok, he came with 400 men to accost Yaakov.

3) Novol the Karmeli was very stingy and did not accommodate Dovid's request to send food supplies to him and his followers for Rosh Hashonoh. Dovid came with 400 men to attack Novol.


1) When someone else feeds you it is permitted. (Admor miGur)

2) Since he was traveling there was a possibility that he was dehydrated, so she offered him first.

3) Drinking does not have the same rule as eating. (Sefer Chasidim #531, see Mogein Avrohom on O.Ch. 167:18)

4) The M.R. Breishis 33:1 says that we derive from the verse "Odom u'b'heimoh toshia Hashem" (T'hilim 36:7), that in the merit of animals people have sustenance. Therefore animals should be fed first. Since Rivkoh had the water miraculously rise from the well this was surely in her merit. She could therefore offer it to a person first. (P'ninim Y'korim)

5) When a person is suffering discomfort for lack of food or drink, he may eat and drink first. (Torah T'mimoh 24:14:18, based on Ram"a Evven Ho'ezer 5:14; also Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh d.h. "vatchal")

6) When one fulfills the mitzvoh of receiving guests he may give priority to people.

7) The rule only applies to food which is uniquely for animals. Note that the verse from which we derive that animals are served first mentions giving grass of the field to your animals. Water is for human consumption as well. (Rav Tuvcho)

8) The rule does not apply when the food is gotten in a miraculous manner. This might explain why in Bmidbar 20:8 the Torah says that water would come forth from the wellspring of Miriam and "You will give to drink for the congregation and their cattle," the congregation being mentioned first.



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

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