Vort on Parshas Chayei Sara
ואחר כן קבר אברהם את שרה (חיי שרה כג:יט)
Anti-Semitism in the times of Avraham
Reb Chaim Dovid Halberstam of Kishaniv tz’’l used to recount a story of his youth.
“When I was a young kid, the Kalashitzer Rav, Reb Chuna Halberstam zt’’l, once asked me to relate something about the parsha. So I told him, when Avraham Avinu wanted to purchase the Mearas Hamachpela, it says the word “מתך” – a dead person – in seven different connotations. Avraham didn’t mention that he needs the burial plot for his wife, he needs it for a dead person.”
The Kalashitzer Rav asked me: “Nu, what’s the reason for it?” At the time, antisemitism was rampant in Poland, and I answered: “It seems like antisemitism isn’t something new today; it’s since the times of Avraham Avinu. Since Avraham was so renowned, he knew that a non-Jew wouldn’t sell him the plot for his wife. Therefore he used the terminology “מת” – he needs it for a dead person, and after he purchased Mearas Hamachpela, the posuk says: ואחר כן קבר אברהם את שרה”.