Questions and Answers on Chayei Sarah

  1. Why is the name of the
    parsha Chayei Sarah if the parsha is about her death?
  2. Why is the word Sarah used 4 times in the first 3 pasukim?
  3. Why in the second pasuk
    is the word v’livkosah (to bury
    her) written with a mini letter chof?
  4. How do we see from the word Chevron that Avrohom lived there for 12 years?
  5. In pasuk 23:6, why is the expression kever used 4 times?
  6. In pasuk 23:8, how can you see from the name Efron that he is a murderer?
  7. In pasuk 23:9, the word yoshev (sitting) is missing a letter vov. Therefore why is it not pronounced Yashav (sat)?
  8. What do we learn from the fact that Efron first offered Avroham the burial plot for free. Avroham refused, and then Efron charged him the exuberant price of 40,000 shekels?
  9. How come out of the 7 the times Efron’s name is used in this parsha, only once it is written without a vov?
  10. When Rivkah meets Eliezer, Chazal tell us she was 3 years old. Is it possible that a 3 year old child can water ten camels?


  1. Tzadikim live on through their children, and Sarah is the mother of the Jewish People.


  1. The 4 times represent the 4 stages of her life: Besulah(young girl), Bogeres(above the age of 12), Isha (married woman) and Aim(mother)


  1. Because it’s the middle letter of the root cry in Hebrew. בכה., and since she was the cause of her own premature death, Avraham reduced his crying.
  2. Chevron is gemtraia 260 and 2 X 6 = 12


  1. Because there are 4 parts to kevurah: Tehoros Haguf (bodily purification), Tachrichim (shrouds), Aron (box), kevurah (burial).


  1. צחר flip the letters and you get רצח which means murdered


  1. As it’s written yashav, is past tense. This mean he was sitting. But our mesorah teaches us that we say yoshev (present tense) to mean he was installed that day as the governor for the honor of Avrohom.
  2. The 400 shekels that Avrohom gave Efron was really 40000. The next words in the pasuk are over l’socher, which means acceptable by any coin dealer. The first letter of these words are Ayin and Lamed which in gemtaria is 100 and 100 X 400 = 40000.


  1. This hints to the fact that word Efron written without a vov equals 400 which is how much he charged for a whole in the ground. This was a real estate rip-off because people in those times earned about 8 shekels a year.


  1. She was definitely not 3 years old but 14 as the Medrash says for 3 reasons. She’s is called a Na’arah which is above the age of 12. Lavan asks her if she wants to go with Eliezer and nobody would ask a 3 year old on such a life changing decision. She went down to the well to water 10 camels, which is an estimated 140-gallon endeavor. So when Chazal say she was 3, it means she had a 3 year old neshama. How? When Sarah died after the Akeidah a new neshama went into Rivkah. Rivkah was 11 at that time and Yitchak was 37. Three years later she marries Yitzchok who is 40 and she is 14.


Rabbi Yosef Chaim Schwab