Buying Land in Israel

In Parshat Chayei Sarah we read about Avraham's purchase of Ma'arat Hamachpela, The Cave of the Patriarchs in Chevron. Although Avraham was offered the land for free, he insisted on paying.

Rabbi Yudan bar Simon in Breisheet Raba comments: This is one of the three places about which the nations of the world cannot taunt Israel saying these are stolen lands: Ma'arat HaMachpela, Har HaBayit (Temple Mount) and Shechem (the burial place of Joseph).

We see the purchase of Ma'arat HaMachpela (Breisheet 23:16) "And Avraham weighed to Ephron the silver". The purchase of the Temple Mount is recounted in Divrei HaYamim I 21:25 "So David gave to Ornan for the place 600 shekels of gold by weight". The purchase of Shechem is detailed in Breisheet 33:19 "And Jacob bought the parcel of ground, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Chamor, Shechem's father for 100 keshita (pieces of money)."

How right our forefathers were to make these purchases fair and square. How ironic is it that these three spots are the most contested areas in Israel today? According to Eben Ezra, the fact that Avraham spent so much money on the land that would be used as a burial plot shows the value of Israel for both the living and the dead. Many people buy land in Israel so that they can be buried there. An even greater mitzvah would be to buy land in Israel in order to live there.