1 Sara‘s lifetime—the span of Sara‘s life—came to one hundred and twenty-seven years.
3 Then Avraham rose from beside his dead, and spoke to the Hittites, saying,
ג וַיָּקָם אַבְרָהָם מֵעַל פְּנֵי מֵתוֹ וַיְדַבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי־חֵת לֵאמֹר׃
4 “I am a resident alien among you; sell me a burial site among you, that I may remove my dead for burial.”
ד גֵּר־וְתוֹשָׁב אָנֹכִי עִמָּכֶם תְּנוּ לִי אֲחֻזַּת־קֶבֶר עִמָּכֶם וְאֶקְבְּרָה מֵתִי מִלְּפָנָי׃
5 And the Hittites replied to Avraham, saying to him,
ה וַיַּעֲנוּ בְנֵי־חֵת אֶת־אַבְרָהָם לֵאמֹר לוֹ׃
6 “Hear us, my lord: you are the elect of Hashem among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places; none of us will withhold his burial place from you for burying your dead.”
ו שְׁמָעֵנוּ אֲדֹנִי נְשִׂיא אֱלֹהִים אַתָּה בְּתוֹכֵנוּ בְּמִבְחַר קְבָרֵינוּ קְבֹר אֶת־מֵתֶךָ אִישׁ מִמֶּנּוּ אֶת־קִבְרוֹ לֹא־יִכְלֶה מִמְּךָ מִקְּבֹר מֵתֶךָ׃
7 Thereupon Avraham bowed low to the people of the land, the Hittites,
ז וַיָּקָם אַבְרָהָם וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ לְעַם־הָאָרֶץ לִבְנֵי־חֵת׃
8 and he said to them, “If it is your wish that I remove my dead for burial, you must agree to intercede for me with Ephron son of Zohar.
ח וַיְדַבֵּר אִתָּם לֵאמֹר אִם־יֵשׁ אֶת־נַפְשְׁכֶם לִקְבֹּר אֶת־מֵתִי מִלְּפָנַי שְׁמָעוּנִי וּפִגְעוּ־לִי בְּעֶפְרוֹן בֶּן־צֹחַר׃
9 Let him sell me the cave of Machpelah that he owns, which is at the edge of his land. Let him sell it to me, at the full price, for a burial site in your midst.”
י וְעֶפְרוֹן יֹשֵׁב בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי־חֵת וַיַּעַן עֶפְרוֹן הַחִתִּי אֶת־אַבְרָהָם בְּאָזְנֵי בְנֵי־חֵת לְכֹל בָּאֵי שַׁעַר־עִירוֹ לֵאמֹר׃
11 “No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field and I give you the cave that is in it; I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.”
יא לֹא־אֲדֹנִי שְׁמָעֵנִי הַשָּׂדֶה נָתַתִּי לָךְ וְהַמְּעָרָה אֲשֶׁר־בּוֹ לְךָ נְתַתִּיהָ לְעֵינֵי בְנֵי־עַמִּי נְתַתִּיהָ לָּךְ קְבֹר מֵתֶךָ׃
12 Then Avraham bowed low before the people of the land,
יב וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ אַבְרָהָם לִפְנֵי עַם הָאָרֶץ׃
13 and spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying, “If only you would hear me out! Let me pay the price of the land; accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there.”
יג וַיְדַבֵּר אֶל־עֶפְרוֹן בְּאָזְנֵי עַם־הָאָרֶץ לֵאמֹר אַךְ אִם־אַתָּה לוּ שְׁמָעֵנִי נָתַתִּי כֶּסֶף הַשָּׂדֶה קַח מִמֶּנִּי וְאֶקְבְּרָה אֶת־מֵתִי שָׁמָּה׃
15 “My lord, do hear me! A piece of land worth four hundred shekalim of silver—what is that between you and me? Go and bury your dead.”
טו אֲדֹנִי שְׁמָעֵנִי אֶרֶץ אַרְבַּע מֵאֹת שֶׁקֶל־כֶּסֶף בֵּינִי וּבֵינְךָ מַה־הִוא וְאֶת־מֵתְךָ קְבֹר׃
18 to Avraham as his possession, in the presence of the Hittites, of all who entered the gate of his town.
יח לְאַבְרָהָם לְמִקְנָה לְעֵינֵי בְנֵי־חֵת בְּכֹל בָּאֵי שַׁעַר־עִירוֹ׃
23:19 Now Chevron
The names of many Israeli cities have profound sigificance. According to a Midrash quoted by the Ramban, the Hebrew name for Hebron, ‘Chevron’ (חברון), is a contraction of the word chaver (חבר), ‘friend,’ and the word na-eh (נאה) ‘beloved.’ Thus, the very name of the city of Chevron alludes to its most famous resident Avraham, who was the first beloved friend of the Lord, as Hashem says in Sefer Yeshayahu (41:8), “Seed of Avraham My friend.”
20 Thus the field with its cave passed from the Hittites to Avraham, as a burial site.
va-YA-kom ha-sa-DEH v’-ha-m’-a-RAH a-sher BO l’-av-ra-HAM la-a-khu-zat KA-ver may-AYT b’-nay KHAYT
23:20 Passed from the Hittites to Avraham, as a burial site
At the time of Sara’s death, Avraham had been living in the Land of Israel for over sixty years, yet this is the first mention of him actually purchasing land. Rabbi Moshe Lichtman, in his book Eretz Yisrael in the Parasha, notes that purchasing the land for Sara’s burial highlights the fundamental truth that one must sacrifice for Eretz Yisrael. It was only after Avraham experienced the hardship of the loss of his wife that he acquired his first piece of property. Lest this be discouraging, Jewish tradition teaches that “the reward is proportionate to the effort” (Ethics of the Fathers, 5:26). Because of the great sacrifice and effort the Jewish people have made in reclaiming Eretz Yisrael, we can be assured that the reward will likewise be great.2 comments