• Home
  • Parashah
  • Ask the Rabbi
  • Festivals
  • Freemasonry
  • Articles
  • About
  • Books
  • Media

    What is the answer? – Chayyei Sarah

    Abraham negotiates with the Hittites, by William Hogarth

    The Torah narrative says in this week’s sidra, “And Abraham arose… and he spoke to the Hittites… and the Hittites answered” (Gen. 23:3-5).

    If the Hittites answered Abraham, he must have asked them something. On the surface, the request Abraham made was for a burial place for Sarah, but that is not the only possible explanation.

    In one of his Divrei Torah on Biblical Hebrew grammar, Rabbi Dr Meshullam Klarberg explains that the Tanach does not always take “answer” (ayin-nun-hey) as the response to a question or request. Instead, it may bear the meaning of raising the voice. It has this meaning in D’varim 27, where a series of verses (e.g. verse 15) says, “The people shall respond with a loud voice”.

    This is the approach that Rashi takes, understanding the verb as meaning to utter something aloud.

    Comments are closed.