Rabbi Hagai Lundin
Rabbi Hagai LundinCourtesy

This week, the United Nations announced that 8 billion people live on Earth. The factor most responsible for this is the agricultural revolution. Before it, humans were hunter-gatherers, isolated nomads without a permanent place, forced to gather berries in order to survive. Clinging to a set land where they could sow and harvest brought people to remain in one place for a long time and gave them the ability to feed many mouths.

Humanity has grown from a million hungry and frightened people, scattered across the globe - to 8 billion people organized in civilizations overflowing with money and property.

In the Torah reading of Chayei Sarah, our father Avraham seeks a foothold in the land – Hevron – a place where one can connect [in Hebrew, also derived from the source letters of Hevron]. Surprisingly, our father Avraham was not looking for agricultural land; our Sages state that "the most rocky land in the Land of Israel is in Hevron."

Avraham Avinu begins his connection to the ground specifically from the Cave of the Patriarchs, from the cemetery.

A cemetery is the place where everyone is equal. In it there is no difference between someone who acquired money and honor during their life and someone who did not. "Do not be concerned when one becomes wealthy, increasing the honor of his house," says King David, "for he will take nothing when he dies; his honor will not descend to the grave with him".

Our connection to the land of the living does not begin with the agricultural interests or luxury real estate. It starts from Hevron, from the connection to eternity. And the Jewish people taught, teach and will teach this to all those 8 billion.