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11/10/2023 10:44:23 AM


Dear mitpallelim,

As we hear how our enemies wish to eradicate the Jews of Erets Yisrael chas ve-shalom, we should remind ourselves of the words of Israel’s Declaration of Independence: “The State will be diligent for the development of the Land for the benefit of all of its inhabitants. It will be grounded on the foundations of freedom, tsedek, and shalom in light of the vision of the Prophets of Israel. It will establish complete equality of rights for all of its citizens, without distinction of religion, race, or sex. It will promise freedom of religion, of conscience, of language, of education and culture. It will safeguard the holy places of all the religions…”. [my translation]


Last week, we mentioned Rashbam’s approach to the story of the Akedah, the binding of Isaac. Rashbam had said that Hashem was angry at Abraham for having made a peace treaty with the head of the Pelishtim [who populated much of the area known today as Gaza] The WHOLE Land had been promised to Abraham. Abraham had no business making a peace treaty.This treaty would be binding upon Abraham and his descendants.  The Akedah was as if to say: you made a treaty, now see what it’s like to have your son’s life appear to be in danger!”

Rashbam gave several examples proving that the Hebrew “nissa’” could mean as he had explained.

The story of the Akedah came at the end of last week’s Torah portion. This week’s portion begins with Abraham trying to purchase a proper burial site for Sarah. [In those days, there were no pre-arranged funerals with Paperman’s!] Abraham seems to be bargaining upwards! He was offered the site for free, but he insisted on paying full value [Perhaps he was offered for free because he had defeated the 4 kings:  thus, showing himself to be a powerful force that you would want to have on your side!]  Abraham was conducting himself in the opposite way of the antisemitic stereotype:  “to Jew down” the price.

Why did Abraham do that?  I would like to suggest that Abraham wanted to make it clear to everyone that he owns the land! The peace treaty that he had made with Avimelech, the head of the Plishtim, in no way counters the Divine promise that the whole land is given to Abraham and his descendants!


The Haimovicis observe yahrzeit this week for their father/grandfather Nachman Leib ben Avraham and Rachel; (Leon,) on Friday, 4 Kislev.

Michael Rubin observes for his mother Sarah next Shabbos, 5 Kislev.

May their memories be for a blessing.


Shabbat shalom, may there be peace in Israel. We pray for the safe return of the hostages.

Rabbi Menahem White

Tue, May 21 2024 13 Iyyar 5784