There are two intriguing commentaries, each relating to a different posuk of Parsha Chaye Sarah, regarding the dialogue leading up to Avraham Aveinu’s acquisition of the Ma’arat HaMachpela for 400 shekels of silver from Efron the Hittite.
The first of the two posukim is spoken by Avraham and says, in part:
“I will have given the money for the field; take it of me …” (Breish’it, Perek 23, posuk 13)
“…That a man may marry a woman by using money to effect the marriage is deduced in the Talmud (Kiddushin 2) by drawing a parallel from this verse. But the parallel goes beyond merely the acquisition of the land of the Efronite and the acquisition of a wife. Just as in a marriage the act of acquisition is only the beginning and not the end, because that is when all one’s obligations begin — food, clothing, etc. — the same is true in our dealings with the Efronites. Nothing ends with written contracts and agreements. We pay, pay and pay again, and yet they keep demanding more from us.” (Torah Gems on Chaye Sarah, page 182 quoting Rabbi A.M. Amiel)
Somehow these last sentences, “Nothing ends with written contracts and agreements. We pay, pay and pay again, and yet they keep demanding more from us” seem to ring true in our ongoing struggle to maintain our Jewish presence in Eretz Yisrael against the avowed goal of the Arabs, the Moslems, to destroy and eradicate the Jews, to cast us from our land into the sea.
And even worse, a so-called Jewish government, successive Jewish Prime Ministers, whether it was Sharon or Olmert (both straight-facedly complicit with the enemy in betrayal of his Jewish brothers, the nation they lead, by endeavoring to attempt evasion of prosecution for alledged corruption and attempting to personally profit from the betrayals on the backs of the Jews), or those who came before them, or now Bibi Netanyahu in his second term in office — they have all schemed the separation, divorce and eradication of any and all things Jewish from the mindset, intellect and consciousness of Israelis even in blind and distorted disregard for national security and well-being.
As we know, new sets of military command firing protocals as well as expressions such as convergence, consolidation, realignment, settlement freezes; whatever the newest euphemism for expulsion, eviction of Jews from Jewish land constitute continuance of seeming hatred for anything Jewish, and surely are not the products of a Jewish heart.
Then, three posukim below our first posuk:
“And Avraham heard Efron … and … weighed for Efron the silver which he [Efron] spoke about in the ears of the B’nai Chais, four hundred shekels of silver that merchants used.” (Breish’it, Perek 23, posuk 16)
On the words, “And Avraham heard”, the Rashbam commented:
“A hint is sufficient for a wise man.” Efron spoke as if he were a man of generosity. He spoke to Avraham with great respect and ostensibly offered him the burial site free of charge. However, Efron mentioned in passing, “The four hundred shekels … is nothing between friends. Your friendship is more precious than money. Bury your dead.” (Breish’it, Perek 23, posuk 15)(Rashi and Rashbam on posuk 15)
But Avraham was perceptive, with his finely-honed intuition, and understood Efron’s real intentions; he didn’t really want to give the land away for nothing. Avraham responded to Efron’s real inner wishes, not to the outer, simple meaning of his [Efron’s] words. (Growth Through Torah, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, on Parsha Chaye Sarah, pages 57 – 58).
Rabbi Pliskin speaks of understanding the true meaning of what others say in a context of correcting and refining one’s midos. He writes that “this ability to differentiate between what someone says and what he means is an attribute that we must develop. For many areas of spiritual growth it is essential.” (Growth Through Torah, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, on Parsha Chaye Sarah, page 58)
However Rabbi Pliskin’s discussion of refining one’s perceptiveness and intuition extend beyond the striving for perfection of midos in Everyman. Avraham Aveinu who, in his time, was THE pre-eminent leader of mankind as well as builder and proponent of a then revolutionary concept; belief in an infinite being who controls every aspect of the world’s existence, correctly read the reality of his relationship with the other peoples. He read the reality of his relationship with Efron and, with an eye to both Hashem’s promise to create a people from him [Avraham] and to all of future history, he acted accordingly in paying Efron the four hundred shekels of silver.
In our contemporary times, is it the leaders, the politicians of Israel who either utterly lack the perception and intuition of an Avraham Aveinu, or have subordinated any wisdom borne of perception and intuition toward the suggestions, nuances and intuitive expressions of the enemy, failing and lacking even strength of character to digest the reality of the straight-out, direct statements made by the enemy, i.e., “Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Haifa are settlements?” Or is it we, the people who fail at perceptiveness by virtue of our not acting to facilitate an end to the rule of these morally corrupt and deranged little men? Is it we, who follow like sheep when outsiders come and tell us who we MUST vote for (or risk gehennom) — on either local or national levels who lack perceptiveness? Or is it our Jewish brethren in America, who suffered from abysmal lack of perceptiveness, permitting their liberal attitudes of “racial equality”, their Medicare coverage and other narrow needs to cloud their minds in voting massively for Obama, thus buying a deceptive bill of goods regard those issues which should be held dear by Jews, including Israel. Many of these “limousine liberals” continue to support him even as the manifestations of his true positions, and perhaps prejudices, become ever more apparent? Has their lack of perceptiveness created a monster which will very soon turn on them?
And so, the posuk which begins; “And Avraham heard”, is inextricably tied to the posuk 3 above it which reads, “I will have given the money for the field; take it of me …” And so we learn in our days that “Nothing ends with written contracts and agreements. We pay, pay and pay again, and yet they keep demanding more from us.” We paid with Oslo, Oslo 2, the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif, the continuing propping up of Abbas and Fatah (who seek our destruction and eradication no less than Hamas) by continuing to give them the weapons, training, technology and capability to kill us in numbers. And we have stiffly paid for lack of perceptiveness by way of the “Jewish government” persecuting and expelling their fellow Jews from Jewish land, under the bogus guise of pre-empting UN, EU, World or American pressure. The reality though, for those perceptive enough as Avraham Aveinu was in dealing with Efron, is to read deeper back into history in Israel over the Oslo period through today.
The reality is that of successive socialist prime ministers who are soo corrupt and soo blinded by their hate of anything Jewish that they hide behind their enemy’s obvious duplicity and the bogus guise of American pressure for “shelter” even at the expense of national security.
For anyone perceptive, it seems obvious that the former Israeli generals, such as Uzi Dayan, who expressed support for Obama did so in order to put in place long-term shelter, under the rationale of “American pressure,” to convey that perception (of “American pressure”) to Israelis in order to facilitate the separation, divorce and eradication of any and all things Jewish, including connection to our Divine Legacy of Eretz Yisrael, from the mindset, intellect and consciousness of Israelis.
And so, it is not mere irony that the very Israeli leaders who employ their euphemisms for expulsions and evictions of their fellow Jews from Jewish land are confronted with a Goldstone Report, increasing fear of travelling abroad and risking possible arrest for war crimes and dangers to national security arising from massive smuggling of weapons by Iran to Gaza, Syria and Lebanon such as the the massive advanced arms cache, including thousands of rockets and ammo found by the Israeli Navy on a ship headed to Syria this past Thursday.
Undoubtedly, there’ll be more anti-Israel resolutions in the UN and Israel will be accused of Piracy on the high seas — Israeli leaders have brought it all upon themselves by subverting Avrahamic wisdom and intuition to the embrace of distorted Sodomized Western morality in their blind expedience in attempting eradication of Jewishness from Israeli consciousness.
May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard, captive Gilad Shalit and the other MIAs be liberated alive returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem and that we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.