אֲדֹנִ֣י שְׁמָעֵ֔נִי אֶ֩רֶץ֩ אַרְבַּ֨ע מֵאֹ֧ת שֶֽׁקֶל־כֶּ֛סֶף בֵּינִ֥י וּבֵֽינְךָ֖ מַה־הִ֑וא וְאֶת־מֵתְךָ֖ קְבֹֽר׃
“My lord, do hear me! A piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver—what is that between you and me? Go and bury your dead.”
The Ancient Road to Hebron
Abraham walked the road to Hebron - Kirat Arba - where Sarah died and he sought a burial place for her. Ephron the Hittite wanted to give him a cave and a piece of land around the cave, but Abraham wanted to buy the cave and the land. Because only when you buy something is it really yours. This applies to everything in life; nothing goes for nothing. When you want to have something, what you want to keep, you will have to do something for it. The same goes for gaining knowledge of Torah, or improving your attributes. You will have to invest
in it or it won't last.
Abraham and Ephron went to the gate of the city where they concluded their agreement in the presence of others, so it would be clear to everyone that the cave of Machpela and the field around it had been purchased by Abraham for 400 shekels of silver.
Why can learn from the number 400, which is the gematria of the letter Tav. (The last letter the AlephBeis.) that turning around to G-d, concentrating on your prayers, Torah study, doing good deeds, everything what is important, you must do with all your abilities.
Why Did Abraham Pay So Much
The Torah recounts the Ephron-Abraham sale in great detail, including the sum of the purchase price—four hundred silver shekels. Based on this figure, the thirteenth-century sage Rabbi Yitzchak bar Yehudah (author of Paaneach Raza) makes an interesting calculation. According to Leviticus 27:16, the value of land in biblical times was 50 silver shekels for a beit kor, or 75,000 square amot (cubits). Thus, the area purchased by Abraham was eight beit kor, or 600,000 square cubits. A square cubit is the approximate area occupied by an upright human being.
The generation of Jews which left Egypt and received the Torah at Mount Sinai numbered some 600,000 heads of households. Our sages tell us that the Jewish nation consists of 600,000 souls, and that the soul of every Jew who ever lived is an offshoot of one of these 600,000 “general” souls. Thus the Torah contains 600,000 letters (counting the spaces between letters), for each Jew possesses something of the Torah.
The same is true of the Land of Israel. Israel is the eternal inheritance of the Jewish people, equally the property of every individual Jew. And so it has been from the very first moment of Jewish ownership of the Holy Land: the first plot of land obtained by the first Jew included a share for every Jewish soul.
Abraham had complete emunah (trust) in HaShem. HaShem had promised him the whole land, and despite that, Abraham now had to buy a grave. He could have fallen by the wayside, he could have begun to doubt whether HaShem would keep
His promise, but he believed, trusted and did what he had to do. We learn from this that we can fully trust HaShem even when we don't always understand. That trust has eternal value. Just like the grave Abraham bought, which is still there today, after all these thousands of years.
Brought By Angelique Sijbolts
Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the Noahide Academy. She has been an observant Noahide for many years. She studies Torah with Rabbi Perets every week. Angelique invests much of her time in editing video-lectures for the Rabbis of the Academy and contributes in administrating the Academy's website in English and Dutch. She lives in the north of the Netherlands. Married and mother of two sons. She works as a teacher in a school with students with special needs. And is a Hebrew Teacher for the levels beginners and intermediate. She likes to walk, to read and play the piano.
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