Sure Enough: On Parshat Chayei Sarah
As promised, I have a treat for my legions of loyal readers out there (the fact that some-5 people will be reading this post is irrelevant because as far as I’m concerned the motto “quality over quantity” says it all).
Chayei Sarah is the account of Sarah Imenu’s death, and how Avraham Avinu purchases Ma’aret Ha’machpela from Efron to have Sarah buried there and as an inheritance for his children. We see a clear difference in the behavior of Efron, a Hittite, and a “native” of the land, and Avraham, a life-long sojourner; someone filled with spirituality, someone who has the ability to overlook the “little” things, while holding on to a greater truth.
In essense, we see the stark difference between the behavior of the first Jew, and the local inhabitants of Cana’an. We see someone who’s willing to make peace with his neighbors even though he’s more powerful than they will ever be; someone willing to sacrifice an insignificant amount of money in order to do a kindness towards his beloved wife and life-partner, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, an individual so base he doesn’t even realize what he has in front of his very eyes.
This is the true essense of the Jewish people. We’re a lofty people, able to make painful sacrifices, and overcome bitter odds in order to guarantee a better future for our children and their offspring. Only a people who are able to do this can ever hope to guarantee eternity. Not so the “native” inhabitants of the Land.
While we give time and time again, and are willing to continue giving even when what we’re giving away doesn’t necessarily belong to us, our enemies aren’t as kind in return. Nor will they ever be. We must unite as a people. Forget unity with the Palestinians when we don’t have unity amongst ourselves.
Today, a guy whom I consider one of the kindest people I’ve met thus far, accused the “right” of spreading propaganda that would make “Ghoering proud.” Now, I can ignore the fact that he’s making a comparison between the Nazis and me (I consider myself a proud “settler”), but I can’t ignore the ugly hatred that’s become so prevelant between my people.
My people are a special people as can be seen in Chayei Sarah. I feel good about punking out a UN representative, but I’ll never feel this way about doing the same to a Jewish left winger. There IS a difference. Someone far to the left of me who has the gall to compare “settlers” to the former Social Democrat Party propaganda chief needs to realize that while I feel he has no right to do so, and am certainly not going to made a scene on facebook, I do believe I have to fight back–but on my own terms. Maybe learning Torah tonight will be my answer.
Back to the parsha. This, more than any other parsha, teaches us about the inherent difference between Avraham, and the inhabitants of the Land; between the Jews and the Palestinians if you will. It also teaches us that we must be holy if we can ever hope to hold on to this parcel of earth. We must seperate ourselves from them by being a “holy people, a nation of priests.”
How’s this to be done? I believe that family purity and guarding one’s eyes go a long way towards maintaining our “edge.” I believe that avoiding lashon ha’ra and not hurting our fellow Jews does as well. G-d knows I’ve been guilty of doing the opposite of what I’m preaching above, but G-d also knows I desperately want to change myself for the better.
May this d’var Torah be an inspiration for whoever reads it, and may they benefit from it. May we, the citizens of the State of Israel, be blessed with peace with our neighbors: not land for peace, but true, lasting peace reached not out of their desire to get rid of us, but of their realization that we are here to stay. Good night!