Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 23, v. 1: "Mei'oh shonoh v'esrim shonoh v'sheva shonim" - One-hundred years and twenty years and seven years - Rashi says that Soroh at the age of twenty years was similar to when she was seven years old regarding beauty. This is a bit puzzling, as women are usually more attractive at the age of twenty than at the age of seven.

2) 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?

3) Ch. 23, v. 4: "Tnu li achuzas kever" - Give me a plot of land as a burial ground - Why did Avrohom wait until after Soroh's death to purchase a burial plot? As well, why was Soroh in Chevron at the time of her death, since they lived in B'eir Sheva?

4) Ch. 24, v. 1: "VaShem beirach es Avrohom bakole" - And Hashem blessed Avrohom with everything - The gemara B.B. 16b and 141a cites the opinion that Avrohom had a daughter whose name was Bakole. According to this opinion why didn't Yitzchok marry his sister Bakole? Since this was before Matan Torah a sister is permitted.

Ch. 24, v. 20: "Va't'ma'heir vatorotz" - And she hurried and she ran - In verse 28 we again have "vatorotz." What's the rush?



The Chizkuni explains that the comparison is of a twenty year old woman, who usually enhances her appearance by using facial cosmetics, to a seven year old girl. Just as a seven year old uses no make-up, so too, Soroh at the age of twenty was beautiful without using make-up.

The Rokei'ach's text is, "A woman of one-hundred like a woman of twenty regarding beauty, and a woman of twenty like a girl of seven regarding being sin-free.


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)


Soroh felt that her end was near and wanted to be buried in the land of Canaan, which would later be Eretz Yisroel. She felt that being buried there would add a spiritual cleansing as per the verse "v'chi'per admoso amo" (Dvorim 32:43). She therefore asked to be transported to Chevron. This is why our verse points out that Kiryas Arba/Chevron is in Canaan. Since Avrohom was not there, as he remained in B'eir Sheva, he was unable to purchase a burial plot for himself and for his wife. (Rabbi Efrayim Karo, uncle of the Beis Yoseif in Toldos Yitzchok)

This is a puzzling comment, as the verse clearly states that Yitzchok was in B'eir Sheva (Breishis 26:23) and we know that Yitzchok never left Eretz Yisroel (see Breishis 26:2 and Rashi). Chizkuni on 26:23 says that B'eir Sheva was close to Chevron, also indicating that it was in Eretz Yisroel.

The Minchoh Vluloh offers that Avrohom wanted to purchase the M'oras Hamachpeiloh as a burial place for his family. Had he started to negotiate with Efron during his wife's lifetime, Efron would have wondered why Avrohom wanted specifically this parcel of land. He would surely have discovered that Adom and Chavoh were buried there and would have either asked for an astronomical price or not agreed to sell it at all. Therefore Avrohom waited until Soroh died and Efron would assume that since she died in Chevron, Avrohom wanted to have her buried locally.


Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel asks this and 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, and either is 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 zt"l many decades ago)


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. (n.l.)



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

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