Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

Please send your answers and comments to: SHOLOM613@ROGERS.COM


1) Ch. 23, v. 8: "Ufigu li b'Efrone ben Tzochar" - The M.R. 58:6 says that Avrohom requested a real estate agent to act as a go between between himself and Efrone. Why was this necessary?

2) Ch. 23, v. 18: "L'Avrohom l'mikneh l'einei vnei Cheis" - Since Avrohom was purchasing the burial plot from Efrone, why do we find the involvement of the bnei Cheis numerous times throughout this transaction?

3) Ch. 24, v. 39: "Lo seileich" - Why earlier when Eliezer mentioned this concern to Avrohom (verse 5) did he express himself differently saying, "ulai lo SOVEH ho'ishoh lo'leches acharoy?"

4) Ch. 24, v. 42: "Vo'ovo ha'yom" - The gemara Sanhedrin 95a states that Eliezer told the members of Rivkoh's family that he left Chevron and arrived in Choron on the same day. What necessitated Eliezer's giving this point of information?

5) Ch. 24, v. 65: "Vatomer el ho'eved mi ho'ish halo'zeh" - Why did Rivkoh ask, "Who is this man?" Obviously she saw many other people during her trip as well.



The Pnei Aryeh Zuta answers that Tosfos on the gemara B.K. 62a d.h. "chamson" says that the concept that "lo sachmode" (Shmos 20:14) means that it is prohibited to take an object from another without paying, is accurate. This is difficult to reconcile with the gemara (ad loc.) that says that a "gazlon" takes and does not pay, while a "chamson" takes against the will of the owner but does pay.

We can answer that if one goes directly to the owner and acquires the object against the will of the owner, for example if the purchaser is a man of such stature that the owner is embarrassed to deny the request, even if payment is given, the purchaser is a "chamson." If one sends a go between, then only if no money is given is one considered a "chamson." This is because the owner is not pressured to sell, as he is not dealing directly with the person of stature. Avrohom wanted to avoid being a "chamson," and since he knew that he was very highly regarded by the bnei Cheis, as is stated in verse 6, "n'see Elokim atoh b'socheinu," he requested a real estate agent to act as a go between.

I have a bit of difficulty with this answer, as we are still left with the difficulty of what is the difference between a "gazlon" who takes and does not pay, and a "chamson" who does not pay. The above mentioned Tosfos says that on a Torah level they are one and the same, but on a Rabbinical level, what is the difference?


From the words "V'osiso ha'yoshor v'hatov" (Dvorim 6:18) we derive an halacha (B.M. 108a, Ch.M. 175:7) that when one offers a parcel of land for sale, it must first be offered to those who own an adjacent parcel of land, since it would be advantageous to own two abutting properties and combine them into one. Since the verse says "V'Efrone yosheiv b'soch bnei Cheis" (23:10), Efrone's parcel of land was situated in the middle of others belonging to the bnei Cheis, Avrohom made sure that they agreed to forego their priority to purchase Efrone's field before he proceeded. (Ponis Yofos)

There is one verse in this story that does not seem clarified by this insight. The final verse (20) of this incident says "Va'yokom haso'deh v'ham'oroh ...... mei'eis bnei Cheis." First of all, why repeat this? Secondly, it seems as if there was an actual transaction between the bnei Cheis and Avrohom regarding this field and the cave. Perhaps, since it was pointed out that the field was surrounded by other fields belonging to bnei Cheis, Avrohom had a dilemma. Even if he were to purchase Efron's field he would have no ingress to his field. We can say that Avrohom also purchased the right to enter the field from the public roadway, traversing fields of others. This would explain why verse 20 adds "la'achuzas ko'ver." As well, in verse 9 where Avrohom was discussing the purchase of the field with the bnei Cheis he also stressed "B'SOCH'CHEM la'achuzas ko'ver." Since the field was in the middle of their fields he feared that he would be denied access to his field. He wanted not only to bury Soroh and have access this one time, but also wanted to purchase the right to always have access for future burials, for the field to be used as a family burial plot, "achuzas ko'ver."

Rabbi Yitzchok Zev haLevi Brisker answers these questions with a different insight. Avrohom was quite concerned to not only have Soroh buried in a plot that belonged to his family for the time being, but also wanted the field to remain his families forever and never be requisitioned by the municipality. This is sometimes done when roads need to be widened or shopping centres need to be built, sometimes specifically on hallowed Jewish burial grounds, as we have seen of late R"l. To insure against this, Avrohom had to not only buy the field from the present owner, but also negotiate with the municipal leaders, namely the bnei Cheis. He actually purchased the right to retain his property forever and never have the community or any government agency expropriate the land for their needs. This explains why we find that Avrohom purchased the land from Efron (v. 12), then buried Soroh (v. 19), and only afterwards did he purchase the permanent ownership from the bnei Cheis (v. 20). His first concern was to own the land and immediately bury Soroh. Only afterwards did he attend to the long-term purchase from the bnei Cheis.


Possibly, he did not want to verbalize the possibility that the girl would NOT WANT to follow him, as he described Avrohom's home and Yitzchok in such glowing terms that this would almost be an impossibility. The only concern would be that she would NOT GO because of an outside factor, such as the reluctance on the part of her family members, which was indeed a concern (verse 55). When in the presence of Avrohom, Eliezer said "ulai lo SOVEH," - possibly she will NOT WANT, telling it as it is, as perhaps she might not WANT TO go.


On a simple level one can answer that he was showing them that he had supernatural Heavenly help in making the trip, and that this was an indication that the marriage should go through. Alternatively, some commentators offer that Rashi (M.R. 59:11) on 24:10 says that Avrohom gave Eliezer a signed document that bequeathed all of Avrohom's possessions to Yitzchok. This document had a date of issue. Eliezer found it necessary to explain how the date of issue was not many days earlier than his arrival, so that the prospective "m'chutonim" should not think that it was a bogus document.


1) The Moshav Z'keinim and the Paanei'ach Rozo answer in the name of the medrash that she paid special attention to Yitzchok because he was walking in an upside down position, his head on the ground and his feet in the air. This was because he had come from a two year recuperation period in Gan Eden (See Targum Yonoson ben Uziel) to recover from what should have been a fatal laceration to his throat, inflicted by his father at the Akeidoh (See Yalkut Dovid on parshas Toldos). We find a similar phenomenon in the Prophet Shmuel 1:28:13, "Ro'isi elohim olim min ho'oretz." The Paanei'ach Rozo adds that we have an allusion to Yitzchok's coming from Gan Eden in verse 62, which begins with "V'Yitzchok boh," which has the same numerical value as "miGan Eden." (The TWO YEAR recuperation period does not match with the Seder Olom and Tosfos Y'vomos 61b who posit that Rivkoh was three years old when she was married to Yitzchok, if we also say that she was born at the time of the Akeidoh, as per the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh mentioned in parshas Va'yeiro.)

According to the above-mentioned medrash that Yitzchok sustained what should have been a fatal laceration and survived only by being in the Gan Eden I.C. unit, it is well understood why we end the blessing of "Atoh GIBOR," called the blessing of "g'vuroh," corresponding to Yitzchok whose dominant character trait is portrayed as "g'vuroh," with the words "m'cha'yei ha'meisim," since Yitzchok was brought back from the dead, meaning that by the rules of nature he should have succumbed to his wound. (Rozo d'Meir)

2) The M.R. says that she took note of his lifting his hand in prayer. This made her to realize that he was a "gavra raba."



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

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel