Chayei Sarah: Chapter 14

The cave of Machpelah (Part one)


Rabbi Yehuda tells us how it was that Abraham recognized the significance of the cave of Machpelah, and that he deserved to be buried there. We learn that an ordinary man sees Adam at the moment of death. Yet Abraham saw him, along with a vision of the Garden of Eden, and still lived. This was because Abraham had been in Eden during his own lifetime, and thus looked upon something he had already merited to see while he was alive. He acquires the cave through spiritual wisdom, not through any form of self-centered desire.


Our egocentric desires compel us to covet possessions that provide temporary satisfaction. But there is a downside, chaos and darkness appear when the thrill has ended. The soul, however, is in search of permanent fulfillment, and people who achieve that fulfillment are willing and able to forsake short-term, ego-based pleasures. Abraham exemplifies this principle in the story of the cave of Machpelah. By remaining true to a spiritual path, Abraham sought out the cave through his wisdom, not his ego, and therefore merited the greatest possible fulfillment, the Light of the Garden of Eden. The mystical words of the Zohar allow us to glimpse shards of Light gleaming in the Garden. During our lives, this Light helps us to fulfill the needs of our soul, instead of foolishly catering to our ego.