Avraham & Black Friday, Sometimes it is worth paying full price

At the beginning of Parshat Chayei Sarah, we see the first purchase in the Torah.

In Breisheet 23:9, Avraham says: “Let him (Ephron) give me the Machpela cave, which belongs to him, which is at the end of the field. Let him give it to me for its full value, as a grave site among you.”

Ramban comments on Avraham’s wording. Avraham does not say “let him sell me the Machpela cave”, rather he says “let him give me the Machpela cave”. Let him give it to me in such a way that I will consider it as a gift even if I will buy it from him for its full value. It is for this reason that Avraham didn’t mention the word “selling”.

According to Breisheet Rabba 58:9, Ephron set an exorbitant arbitrary price and Avraham, out of the willingness of his heart listened and did according to his will and magnified himself.

Avraham buys Maarat HaMachpela, literally a double cave in Kiryat Arba, Hevron for its full value, he is not looking for a sale or a bargain. When Ephron offers him the land for free (sentence 15), Avraham insists on paying the full amount of 400 silver shekels.

Why was Avraham in such a rush to pay the full amount? Why wasn’t he looking for a bargain? Why didn’t he accept the land as a gift?

Avraham did not want to have any dispute later on as to whether the land belonged to him. He wanted to make sure that he and his descendents would be able to be buried there without anyone contesting their rights to the cave. It was worth it to Avraham to quickly be able to complete the business transaction and bury Sarah in a timely manner rather than have it hang over his head and by paying full price (or even more than the going rate) Avraham ensured that the plot of land which included the burial cave would remain with his family forever.

There are some things that are worth bargaining for but when it comes to the burial plot of our forefathers and foremothers no price is too high.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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