Shabbat Parashat Chayay Sarah
October 26, 2013 – 22 Cheshvan 5774
The Torah tells us in great detail about Abraham’s successful negotiation and ultimate purchase of the Cave of Machpelah, in the city of Hebron, for use as a family burial site for Sarah.
According to Jewish tradition, the Cave of Machpelah, was the burial site for Adam and Eve, and subsequently became the burial site for Abraham and Sarah, for Isaac and Rebecca, and for Jacob and Leah.
Interestingly, the name “Machpelah” denotes a “multiple” and the name of the city, Hebron, in Hebrew, denotes “connection”.
What are the multiple connections that are hinted at by the names associated with the site that Abraham took such great pains to purchase as his own?
One obvious connection is that of the couples that were buried there – Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah. The nuclear family is part of our network of sacred connections – complex as the relationships of these couples may have been, by recounting this story, the Torah reiterates to us that there is potential for holiness in our nuclear families and that potential is to be respected, cherished and preserved to the best of our abilities.
A second, perhaps less obvious, connection is the connection between the universal (represented by Adam and Eve) and the particular (represented by Abraham and Sarah and the rest of our Biblical patriarchs and matriarchs). Torah teaches us that we are a particular people with a particular Torah, yet we are also a part of the greater family of nations. Just as we are taught to cultivate our connections with our own people, so we are taught to cherish our connections with all human beings. Both the universal and the particular are sacred connections, as are our more personal connections close to home.
May all of our connections be for a blessing!
Rabbi Gilah Dror
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