Nov 23, 2008

why we are always fighting for what is ours

This weeks parsha, Chayei Sara, was very frustrating for me as I was reviewing it.

Here we have, clearly detailed in the Torah, which nobody denies (i.e. the other main religions believe in the Torah, at least the basics of it, as the precursor to theirs), that Avraham bought The Cave in Hebron and the area around it. He paid good money for it when he could have taken it for free, as it had been offered to him.

Yet despite that, nowadays we still have trouble there with the Arabs claiming it as theirs, and even worsen the Jewish government stopping Jews from living there even in places where there should be no problem.

Hebron was divided up a bunch of years ago, and the Jews were given something like 15% of Hebron in which we could populate, the other 85% went to the PA. Yet even in our 15% they do not let us live freely. The Beit Hashalom, which was a house purchased legally, the buyers paying full price and more for it. yet they don't let us live there, and are threatening to violently evict the residents.
A few years ago there were the houses in the market that Jews moved into. Those had also been originally owned by Jews, taken over by Arabs in 1929, and then have been sitting empty for a long time. When Jews moved in, the government called it a provocation and threw them out. And this is in the Jewish neighborhood!
I can understand that if the residents try to take over homes in the Arab section that the government would call it a danger and a provocation (though I would not agree with throwing them out), but in the Jewish neighborhood? And since they threw them out, they have not moved Arabs in! So what provocation is it? What does it help the world for those apartments to sit empty? What does it help anybody for Beit HaShalom.Beit HaMeriva to sit empty? These are homes in the Jewish neighborhood, that Jews paid full price for, just like Avraham paid full price for the Cave, yet we are always fighting the Arabs for ownership.

It makes me crazy.

At the end of the parsha , right before Avraham does, he divides up his inheritance. He gives presents to the children of Ketura and sends them east. We never hear from them again.
He gives Yitzchak everything else.
He seems to give Yishmael nothing. I don't know why he gives Yishmael nothing, but perhaps that is why Yishmael, the Aravs, are always fighting with us about our ownership over the land. Perhaps because he got nothing, it is like a contested will. Like in the books and movies when one kid is slighted by the elderly father and left out of the will or given substantially less. He then contests the will, fighting with his siblings, and never really lets anyone else enjoy the portion of inheritance that they received.

Perhaps had Avraham given Yishmael a portion of inheritance, maybe he would have left us alone, but because he did not, Yishmael is kind of "contesting the will" and always claiming what is ours to be rightfully his.


  1. the arabs think that they are the true descendants of avraham through yishmael, therefore everything that avraham acquired belongs to them! it is not clearly stated what he gave to whom in the parsha.

  2. not clearly stated, but it says he gave gifts to the "bnei ketura", and it says he gave "everything" to Yitzchak. It does not mention his having given anything to Yishmael.


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