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Hayyei Sarah: Honoring Is Not Synonymous with Intermarrying

Rabbi Ya'aqob Menashe
Thursday, November 9, 2017/Heshwan 20, 5778

במבחר קברינו קבר את מתך "In the choicest of our tombs, bury your dead" (Bereshith 23:6). When Abraham (Abinu, 'a"h) wishes to purchase a burial site for Sarah (Immenu, 'a"h), he speaks to 'Ephron with the utmost honor. This caused the other people of Heth to believe that Abraham Abinu, 'a"h, was one of them. It says in Dibrei Mordekhai, that this caused him to respond that he was not one of them, but of the nation that dwells apart ('Am Lebadad Yishkon [Bamidbar 22:9).

We see a similar occurrence when Eli'ezer, his servant, wished that Isaac (Yis-haq Abinu, 'a"h) would marry his daughter. Abraham (Abinu, 'a"h) responded that we do not intermarry, but that we are on our own. But even more than this, he made Eli'ezer swear that he would not take for him a wife from the Canaanites, so that there would not be any intermarriage.

What is important is that Abraham Abinu, 'a"h, treated both Eli'ezer as well as the people of Heth, with the utmost respect, but one thing did not and must not translate into another. Treating others with dignity and respect is essential. Not intermarrying and not behaving in ways that could lead to intermarriage is also an absolute prerequisite.

(See Dibrei Mordekhai, Hayyei Sarah, Parparaoth)

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chayei Sarah, Parsh, Parasha, Perasha of the week, hayei sarah, hayyei sarah, rav mordechai eliyahu

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