This week’s Parasha is CHAYE SARAH (Genesis / Bereshit 23:1-25:18). Due to the end of the daylight saving, now Shabbat starts relatively early in Israel. In Jerusalem we light the Shabbat candles at 4.10 pm tomorrow. Shabbat Chaye Sarah ends on Saturday evening at 5.23 pm. Next week, we already enter the Jewish month of Kislev. The month where we celebrate Chanukkah.
Parashat “Chaye Sarah” includes two important events:
1. Sarah died and her husband Avraham is looking for a burial place. From the Hittite Ephron he buys the Ma’arat HaMachpelah cave in Hebron.
2. Avraham sends out his slave Eliezer in order to look for a suitable wife for Yitzchak. Eliezer thought that Yitzchak could marry his (Eliezer’s) daughter but Eliezer quickly agreed to go to Haran. There are rabbinic teachings stating that by leaving quickly, Eliezer actually overcame his Yetzer HaRah (Evil Inclination). In Haran he found Rivka (Rebecca) and returned with her to Avraham. Rivka’s father was Betuel, the son of Nachor. And Nachor was the brother of Avraham.
When Avraham met Ephron and they were negotiating about the amount of money Avraham would pay for the Machpelah, Ephron cheated and demanded too much. Avraham paid without complaining because the burial site was too important for him.
The kabbalistic Zohar states that Ephron was totally unaware of the true meaning of the Machpelah. He neither knew that Adam and Chava (Eve) were buried there nor did he know that the cave is the entrance to Paradise (Gan Eden). Here, the upper worlds meet our physical world and the souls (Neshamot) of dead people return to the upper worlds.
Everything Ephron saw was Avraham’s money and an old dark cave. He was only looking at the outer appearance where money, wealth and power means everything. However, Avraham understood the deeper meaning of the Machpelah. He was able to look behind the facade in order to find the true character of someone or something.
This Parasha teaches us that we should follow Avraham. We should not look at people or things in an artificial way and judge according to power, money, purpose or the way someone dresses. Our task is to look deeper into the matter and thus gain deeper a understanding of what is really important in life.