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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Chayei Sara

Parashat Chayey Sara

This Land is My Land, This Land is Your Land

Rabbi Meyer FendelCheshvan, 5763
Dedicated to the memory of
Jacov Ben Behora
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In this week’s portion, the Torah relates in extensive detail the purchase by Abraham of the Mearat HaMachpela. Similarly, the Torah (Bereishit 33:19) details the acquisition by Jacob of a plot of land in Shechem - which according to tradition was the burial place of Joseph - even recording the purchase price of one hundred kesita. And in Divrei HaYamim-I (ch. 21, 22, 26) there is a lengthy account of the purchase of the Temple Mount by King David and his insistence on making full payment.

Midrash Rabbah (sec. 79) remarks that these three places - the Cave of the Patriarchs, the Tomb of Joseph in Shechem, and the Temple Mount - whose deeds of purchase are recorded in the Bible are safe from the gentile accusation that "this is stolen land in your hands". This remark seems odd in light of the events of our time. For it is precisely these three sites that are at the heart of the current conflict, the Arabs claiming each of these places as their own!

It may be suggested, perhaps, that the Midrash is addressing Klal Yisroel, asking us to be aware that the Torah goes out of its way in each instance to emphasize that our ancestors acquired each of these important places through an elaborate public purchase. WE need to know that this is our Land - our ancestors purchased it. We need not apologize to anyone. The Torah tells us that we are rightfully returning to our ancestral home.

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