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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Chayei Sara

Parashat Chayei Sara

Worth Any Price

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This week’s parasha opens with the death of Sarah in Hebron and Avraham’s negotiations to purchase a burial plot for her there. Why does the Torah describe these negotiations in such great detail? Do we really need to know that Efron, the owner, was a charlatan, that he at first offered it as a gift and then demanded an inflated price of 400 silver pieces?

Harav Shmuel Mohliver answers that the Torah is teaching us that when it comes to redeeming the land of Israel, we mustn’t be put off by the price. We must be prepared to pay even more than the "market value" to obtain every possible granule of this holy land. That’s how dear it is to us.

Sometimes you can’t appreciate a dvar Torah unless you know a little about its author. Harav Mohliver was one of the few Rabbanim in 19th-century Europe to join secular Zionists in founding the Hibbat Zion movement. Though he certainly didn’t identify with their views on Jewish life, he was willing to pay any "price" for Eretz Yisrael.

As Rav of Bialystok, he attended a special conference in Lemberg, Galicia, convened to deal with the fate of the tens of thousands of Jews who had fled across the Russian border to Galicia following the pogroms of 1881. He suggested that the refugees be diverted to Eretz Yisrael.

In 1882, he went to Paris to meet the young Baron Edmond de Rothschild and convinced him to help the struggling settlers in the Holy Land. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to learn that he shared this dvar Torah , on paying anything to redeem Eretz Yisrael , with Rothschild.

May we merit to emulate his love of Eretz Yisrael and thus merit its complete redemption speedily in our days.

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