CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS CHAYEI SOROH 5772 - BS"D
1) Ch. 23, v. 3: "Va'y'da'beir el bnei Cheis" - The M.R. 58:8 states: Rabbi Elozor said, "How much ink has been spilled and how many quills have broken in the process of repetitively writing the words 'bnei Cheis' ten times regarding the purchase of the burial site by Avrohom. This teaches us that whoever facilitates a clearly defined sale (leaves no room for misunderstanding) for a righteous person, it is as if he has fulfilled the Ten Commandments." A careful counting seems to yield only eight "bnei Cheis" and not ten. How does the M.R. arrive at ten?
2) Ch. 23, v. 9: "Biktzei so'deihu" - In verse 11 Efron responds with, "haSO'DEH nosati loch." For what was Avrohom asking and what item/s was Efron offering in his response?
3) Ch. 23, v. 15: "Arba mei'ose shekel kesef beini u'veincho MAH HEE" - There is a concept called "Mesoroh." A word or group of words that appears throughout Tanach has a connection. This exercise is often found in the Baal Haturim. The expression MAH HEE also appears in Bmidbar 13:18, "U'r'i'sem es ho'oretz MAH HEE," and in T'hilim 39:5, "Hodi'eini Hashem kitzi u'midas yomai MAH HEE." How can we connect these three phrases?
4) Ch. 24, v. 1: "Va'Shem beirach es Avrohom bakole" - The GR"A quotes a medrash which says "Zu Sukoh." How does our verse allude to sukoh?
5) Ch. 24, v. 12: "Hakrei noh l'fonai" - Eliezer asked for an OMEN to indicate that he would find Yitzchok's future wife. How could he do this as there is a prohibition of divination, "nichush" (Dvorim 18:10)?
The Sfas Emes says that we include 25:10, "Haso'deh asher konoh Avrohom mei'eis BNEI CHEIS," and 49:32, "Asher konoh Avrohom, mei'eis BNEI CHEIS."
Possibly, Avrohom is indicating that his interest was in purchasing only the cave and a path leading to the cave, the path being alluded to by the word "ES m'oras hamachpeiloh." Therefore, he pointed out that the cave's location was at the edge of the field, which would still leave the field for Efron's use. However, Efron responded (v. 11), "HASODEH nosati loch." If you use the cave of the machpeiloh as a burial place for Soroh, in essence I have given you the ENTIRE field with it, because I feel that the visitors to her gravesite will trample the entire area. Hence I am forced to sell you the entire field.
The Pardes Yoseif explains the connection as follows:
When one is single and free to do as he wishes his yetzer hora tells him to pursue all physical gratification to which he can avail himself. He tells the person that after marrying he will settle down and fulfill his spiritual responsibilities. Upon marrying his yetzer hora tells him that the small amount of money he received for a dowry will quickly be consumed and he will be left destitute, "Arba mei'ose shekel kesef beini u'veicho MAH HEE." Therefore he should throw himself fully into the pursuit of a livelihood, and upon being successful a number of years down the road, he will be free to pursue spirituality. After toiling and slaving for many years and having built up some financial resources and clearly having the opportunity to pursue spirituality, the yetzer hora is armed with, "After all these years of hard work, don't you and your wife deserve an extended vacation, a relaxed luxury cruise around the world? If you don't do this now, who knows if you will be in good health in your old age and have the ability to do this and enjoy it? You always have the opportunity to learn Torah in your old age." This is "U'r'i'sem es ho'oretz MAH HEE." However, one must realize that there is no guarantee that he will live to an old age, and should immediately, while he is a youngster, pursue spirituality. This is "Hodi'eini Hashem kitzi u'midas yomai MAH HEE."
The GR"A answers that there are three expressions by the mitzvoh of residing in a sukoh. They are found in Vayikra 23:42,43. "Basukos teishvu shivas yomim - Kol ho'ezroch b'Yisroel yeishvu basukos - L'maan yeidu doroseichem ki basukos hoshavti es bnei Yisroel. The first letters of these three phrases, Beis-Kof-Lamed, spell the word "BaKoLe."
Perhaps another allusion can be found. The medrash says that the Torah begins with the letter Beis for "brochoh" and not with an Alef for "orur." Obviously, there are positive words that begin with an Alef and negative words that begin with a Beis as well. The intention of the medrash is that a Beis has the value of two. This indicates an increase.
We know that the concept of "Brochoh" is growth. An Alef has the value of one, not indicating increase. The word "Brochoh" whose root form is Beis-Reish-Kof has the three letters which are the first increase beyond the single unit before it, each in its own field, the Beis in single unit numbers, the Kof in tens, and the Reish in hundreds. As well each is double the number value of the letter before it. Our verse says, "Va'Shem BeiRaCh es Avrohom bakole." BeiRaCh is spelled Beis-Reish-Chof, indicating doubling. Hashem blessed Avrohom with a doubling of BaKoLe, Beis-Kof-Lamed. Double the numeric value of BaKoLe equals 104, the same as "ZU SuKoH," Zayin-Vov-Samech-Vov-Kof-Hei. (n.l.)
The Chidushei hoRan in Chulin 95b answers that using an omen to make decisions is only prohibited where the omen gives no logical indication towards decision making. For example, if a deer crosses one's path and he therefore refrains from taking a planned trip. If, however, it is an INDICATION in one direction or another, it is allowed. Eliezer's finding a girl who treats him with great kindness is indeed an indication of an appropriate partner for Yitzchok. This is but the tip of the iceberg regarding the halachos pertaining to divination.
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