Why does the Torah find it important to tell us the story about Avrohom who purchased the property from Efron, where he buried Sarah?
There are a number of lessons we learn there. One lesson is that the cave of Machpelah is a monument, it's a historical testimony to the truthfulness of the Torah. When you are in Chevron and you visit that place, now you know it's venerated by the Arabs as well as by the Jews le'havdil, and always has been. The Jewish nation always knew that place, and it's a monument. Because if Sarah and Avrohom are buried in that kever, if Avrohom buried Sarah in that kever, it means there was an Avrohom and there was a Sarah. It means Avrohom came when he was a stranger to the land, and he bought this, and that's where they were buried, and therefore it's a testimonial to the Torah.
The same is with the grave of Rochel, it's very important for us. The grave of Rochel was mentioned in Bereishis, where Yaakov Avinu erected a monument on Rochel's grave, and in Sefer Shmuel it relates how Shmuel told Shaul Hamelech he's going to meet two men by the grave of Rochel. The grave of Rochel was known to Yirmiyahu Ha'navi, he says Rochel mevakeh al boneha-Rochel is weeping for her children as they were going into exile, and they pass her monument. The grave of Rochel was known to the sages in the Talmud, the grave of Rochel was known in the middle ages, the Ramban visited the grave. Binyomin of Tudila, a traveler from Spain visited the grave. Therefore when Sir Moshe Montefiore came there, he built a beautiful mausoleum over the grave, and that's evidence of our history. If there is a grave of Rochel, then there was a Yaakov Avinu too, and that means our history is corroborated, it's very important for us.
The names of the cities where these things are mentioned, Chevron is right there on the map, that's the Chevron. It's remarkable when people come to Chevron, they say, this is the Chevron where Avrohom Avinu was? Absolutely, it's the same Chevron! You mean to say this city was standing for all those centuries? All those millennia? Absolutely, nobody doubts that. Not only Chevron, there is a town called Nachor in Syria, there's a town called Tiraku, Terach, a town called Pilagu, after Peleg.
The archaeologists have discovered these old names, and these names corroborate our history.
Good Shabbos To All
This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210