Moses' complaint

Moses complained, our forefathers did not.

Tags: Hevron area
Danny Ginsbourg

Judaism Cave of the Patriarchs, Hevron
Cave of the Patriarchs, Hevron

Our Sages (Sanhedrin 111) see in the opening psukim (verses) of our parsha an implied rebuke to Moshe Rabenu, for saying to Hashem:(Shemot 5:22-23)’My Lord למה הרעותה לעם הזה: "Why have You done evil to this people, why have You sent me? From the time I came to Pharoah to speak in Your Name he did evil to this people, but You did not rescue Your people."

Continues the Gemara:Hashem lamented to Moshe: Woe for those who are gone, the like of whom can no longer be found! The Avot, unlike you, did not question My attributes; I said to Avraham:(Lech Lecha 13:17)traverse this land, for I will give it to you; but when he sought a burial plot for Sarah, he had to purchase it for four hundred silver shekels; yet he did not question My attributes.

Asks Rav Matityahu Solomon: What grievance could Avraham have had? The promise of the gift of the Land, was (Lech Lecha 15:16)that the fourth generation would return there; but until then it would continue to be inhabited by its present occupants.

And he answers: Would Avraham Avinu not be entitled to think:I have devoted my whole life, as did my beloved Sarah, to spread Hashem’s name and his never-ending chasadim (kindness) to the world; yet, now that I need to bury my righteous Sarah, could I not have been spared having to plead to Ephron, to purchase a burial plot for her?

Yet, comments Rav Solomon: Not only that no such thought enter Avraham’s mind, but, when Ephron consented to sell him a burial, Avraham saw it as a great chesed from Hashem; and (Chayei Sarah 23:12)he thanked Hashem, prostrating himself, in gratitude, before Him.

And our Sages note (Baba Batra 15:),that the ‘great adversary’, השטן, was so ‘moved’ by this act of אמונה by Avraham, that he reported to Hashem:’I have travelled the whole world, and I did not find anyone as נאמן:faithful as Your servant, Avraham; you said to him: traverse the land, because I will give it to you, yet when he needed to bury Sarah, he could not find a plot to bury her, yet he did not question Your attributes!’.

And if Hashem, כביכול, laments the departure of the Avot, they have nevertheless left us, their descendants, a lasting legacy.

The Chatam Sofer expounds the pasuk:(Lech Lecha 15:6)’And he (Avraham) האמין בה׳: he trusted in Hashem, and He reckoned it to him, as צדקה’, as:Avraham Avinu instilled his unwavering אמונה into our DNA; and this was deemed by Hashem as a צדקה by Avraham, to Him!

And, in this merit, we are lauded by our Sages (Shabbat 96.)as: מאמינים בני מאמינים:’Believers, the sons of Believers’- the sons of ‘the’ believer:Avraham Avinu!

May we always be worthy of this plaudit!