56. Rabbi Yosi ben Pazi said, Come and behold, after the soul meets them, it is sentenced. It meets the angel appointed over them, the angel in charge of the graveyards, named Dumah. He announces among them, every day, the names of the righteous who are about to come among them. It immediately entreats him to lodge the body in tranquillity, safety, rest, and pleasure. This is the meaning of, "And he spoke to Efron" (Yeshayah 57:11).
57. Rabbi Yesa asks, Why is the angel Dumah called Efron? He responded, Because he is in charge over the dwellers of dust (Heb. afar). All the lists of the righteous and companies of the pious that dwell in the dust were given to him, and he will bring them out according to the reckoning.
59. In the name of Rabbi Ya'akov, Rabbi Shmuel said that the souls of the evil are in the hands of the angel Dumah, who will send them to Gehenom to be sentenced. Once they are put in Dumah's hands, they do not return again before going to Gehenom. This is what David feared when he committed that sin, as it is written, "Unless Hashem had been my help, my soul had soon dwelt in Dumah" (Tehilim 94:17). Rabbi Yesa said, The soul entreats him to put the body with the bodies of the other righteous and be enumerated in their numbers. This is the meaning of, "And he spoke to Efron..."
60. Rabbi Tanchum added that the angel first addresses him. Look at what was written before the verse. It is, "And Efron dwelt among the children of Chet" (Beresheet 23:9), who were afraid of dwelling in the dust. He hastens to instruct Dumah to put that body in the reckoning of the righteous. Then the verse reads, "And Efron the Hittite answered Abraham in the ear of the children of Chet, even of all that went in at the gate of his city" (Ibid.). Who went in at the gate of his city? Rabbi Nachman said, Those who were written in the list. As Rabbi Nachman said, and so is was decreed, by the reckoning made by Dumah, they enter, the cemeteries. And by the reckoning he will take them out. And he is in charge of the dwellers of dust.
90. Come and behold, Abraham behaved wisely when he asks for a grave for Sarah, for he did not ask for the cave immediately or say that he wanted to be separated from them. Instead, he said, "Give me a possession of a burying place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight" (Beresheet 23:3). HE DID NOT MENTION EITHER EFRON OR THE CAVE. If you say that Efron was not there, IT IS NOT SO. INDEED he was present, as it is written, "And Efron dwelt among the children of Chet" (Ibid. 9). NEVERTHELESS, Abraham said nothing to him for the time being.
92. And we learn proper conduct from the way Abraham acted, because he desired and wished for that cave. Although Efron was there, he did not want to ask him immediately. He did not ask for the cave but rather for what he did not want, and asks another, not Efron, AS HE SAID TO THE SONS OF CHET, "GIVE ME A POSSESSION OF A BURYING PLACE WITH YOU..."
93. Once the sons of Chet said to him in the presence of Efron, "Hear us, my Lord, you are a mighty prince among us" (Beresheet 23:5), it is written, "And Efron dwelt (lit. 'dwells') among the children of Chet." 'Dwells' is written without vowels and can be conjugated as 'dwelt,' which would mean that Efron was already there as they started talking. Then Abraham said, "Hear me, and entreat for me to Efron, the son of Tzochar, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he has" (Ibid. 8). If you say that, since my honor is greater than yours, I ASK FOR THE CAVE OF THE MACHPELAH FROM EFRON, because I do not want to dwell among you, THIS IS NOT TRUE. But "with you" AND "AMONGST YOU" (IBID. 10) - IN OTHER WORDS, to be interred among you. THIS IS WHAT I MEANT, because I want you, so that I shall not be separated from you.
98. Rabbi Aba said, Come and behold, it is written, "And Abraham hearkened to Efron, and Abraham weighed to Efron the silver..." This is the longing for those desirable worlds. The "400 shekels of silver" are the 400 worlds of pleasure and desire. As Rabbi Nachman said, "Current money with the merchant" means that one may pass all the gates of heaven and Jerusalem the terrestrial with it, without being detained.
103. Come and behold, If Efron had seen in the cave what Abraham saw, he would never have sold it. But because nothing is revealed except to its owner, it was revealed to Abraham only and not to Efron. It was revealed to Abraham because it was his, and not Efron's, for Efron had no share in it. Therefore, Efron saw nothing of the cave, except darkness, and he sold it.
104. Moreover, he also sold him what Abraham did not ask for, because Abraham said only, "That he may give me the cave of the Machpelah...for the full price he shall give it me" (Beresheet 23:8) and did not mention the field. And Efron said, "The field I give you, and the cave that is in it, I give it you" (Ibid. 10), for Efron knew not what it was and found it all loathsome. EVEN THE FIELD, IN WHICH THE CAVE WAS, WAS LOATHSOME TO HIM. THEREFORE HE SOLD THE FIELD TOO, ALTHOUGH ABRAHAM DID NOT ASK FOR IT.