Chayei Sarah

Chayei Sarah by Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron                                                           בס"ד

לשכנו תדרשו

Discover the Holy Presence in the Holy Land

Maarat Hamachpela

For the past few weeks we have discussed a gradual process of the centrality of Hebron taking the fore throughout the weekly parshas. We have been drawing a parallelism between the four letters of the Tetragrammaton and the place of Hebron in the four parshas Noah-Chayei Sara, beginning with the “last heh”, hinting to the lowest Kabbalistic sefira – Malchut/Asiah, in parshat Noah where Hebron is only hinted, and moving up to the highest sefira in Chayei Sara – Yod/Hochma/Atzilut, where, by no question, Hebron receives the most central role of all these four parshiot. The spiritual world of Atzilut – “Emanation”, according to the Kabbalists, is where the spiritual realms are united strongly together to their Godly source, from which they “emanate.” In parshat Chayei Sara the conception of Hebron – Maarat Hamachpela is that of a full union with the People of Israel, as can be seen through the purchase of Maarat Hamachpela by Avraham and Sarah’s burial within it, illustrating how the holy body of Israel becomes one with the holy earth of the Holy Land. These matters show that, in essence, the soul of Israel and the soul of the Holy Land, to which Hebron is a Beacon, are integrally united, as husband (Israel) and wife (the Holy Land). The “soul” of Israel is called the “Assembly of Israel” which is a term used in the Zohar to refer to the Holy Presence, and the “soul” of the Holy Land is also the Holy Presence, as we have discussed many times before.
Indeed, the name Maarat Hamachpela hints to this awesome unity. “Machpela” is already explained by our Sages to refer to the “double” – “kefel” – married couples of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs. “Maarat” may also refer to this concept since the word “me’ureh” means “joined together in unison.” Indeed, the section describing the marriage of Yitzhak, immediately after the purchase of Maarat Hamachpela in this parsha, shows how this theme continues throughout this parsha. The name Hebron itself also means unity.
In summary of the past weeks in regard to the order of the Tetragrammaton from beginning to end, we shall say 1. Yod/Hochma/World of Atzilut/Emanation – Chayei Sarah – Oneness of Israel with Maarat Hamachpela/Land of Israel, which are one, or “emanating” from the Godly source, the Holy Presence. The purchase of Maarat Hamachpela is triggered by Sarah’s passing through the Hand of the Almighty 2. Heh/Bina/World of Briah/Creation – Vayera – the Divine Revelation associated with Hebron/Land of Israel unto Israel/Avraham (first Patriarch of Israel). Here Israel and the Land are separate entities, but related in a very lofty way – prophecy 3.Vav/Hesed-Yesod/World of Yetzira/Formation – Lech Lecha – The connection to/towards Hebron/Land of Israel through movement and settlement, as initiated by Hashem’s command to Avraham. Here Israel and the Land are separate entities and related/connected in a more external way – movement and settlement. 4. Last Heh/Malchut/World of Asiah/Action – Noah – The Land of Israel is mentioned for the first time in the Torah, and movement towards Avraham’s final home is only hinted at. This represents the human initiative in the World of Action, after which there is Divine Aid as mentioned in 1-3 here. By connecting to Hebron, may we connect to the Holy Land through all these Divine ways of God’s holy Name, thereby walking in the Path of Hashem.

Real Miracles: War of Independence:

At Safed, near the Sea of Galilee, a small unit of Israeli defenders were holding off thousand Arabs. A sudden tropical storm broke loose. The Israelis in desperation took their remaining gasoline, poured it over 50 empty drums, set them afire, and rolled them down the hill. The flaming barrels flying down the slopes, the rumble of hollow barrels striking rocks—together with the tropical storm—created such an illusion that the bewildered Arabs imagining some sort of secret weapon, took to their heel and fled.

Source: Israel a Nation of Miracles

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