The Daily Chizzuk of our Rebbe, the Gaon and Tzaddik, Rabbi Eliezer Berland shlit”a – how the oath of Avraham Avinu to the Hittites regarding Me’arat HaMachpelah is related to Jewish rule in Jerusalem
II Shmuel, Ch. 5: “David captured the fortress of Tzion, which is the City of David. And David said that day, anyone who will strike the Jebusite and reach the stronghold, and the blind and the lame that David detests.”
I Chronicles 11:5: “The inhabitants of Jebus told David, ‘You shall not enter here.’ But David captured the fortress of Tzion, which is the City of David.”
Thursday, 28 Av 5782 – Only someone who does kindness 24 hours a day like Avraham Avinu and Yoav ben Tzeruya can conquer Jerusalem.
These are his holy words:
How can Yoav stand up against the oath of Avraham? This is the difficulty, this is our question!
Because David was afraid [to enter Jerusalem]. They told him, “Don’t enter the city. You won’t be able to enter the city.” They shouted at him from the walls: “You cannot enter the city. See the oath [of Avraham]. See the public notices, the giant signs with the oath of Avraham [that his descendants won’t conquer Jerusalem].
“Now, swear to me by G-d that you will not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my grandson” (Breishit 21:23). Here there really is the oath of Avraham – so why was Yoav not afraid of the oath?
The answer is in the verse, and the Gemara explains how to interpret it. There are two verses: 1. “Yoav sustained the rest of the city” I Chronicles 11:8); 2. “He died…” and we see his death [as being mentioned as being] in the desert, but he wasn’t in the desert. He died in Jerusalem.
Here is the secret. Who are the blind and the lame? The Midrash says that these are the statues! So what, it’s impossible to fight statues? Behold, the statue is both blind and lame – “They have a mouth and do not talk, they have eyes and do not see” (Tehilim 115:5). This is the lame, so what is the problem with fighting them?
Rather, these were statues that held giant signs! Signs with the letters for Kiddush HaLevanah, letters that it’s possible to see from several kilometers [away]. With the letters, it was written the oath that Avraham swore to the Hittites, because the Jebusite is the Hittite – Arvona the Jebusite [who sold Jerusalem to David] – he was from the Hittites and Avraham swore to the Hittites.
Because Avraham wanted Me’arat HaMachpelah [therefore, he was prepared to promise not to enter Jerusalem]. In Me’arat HaMachpelah there was darkness. It’s written by Rabbi Natan (Likutey Halachot, Choshen Mishpat Part 2) that Me’arat HaMachpelah was a place of darkness, they feared to come near there.
Hashem arranged it like this, so that they wouldn’t reveal that Adam and Chava were there. If they had known that Adam and Chava were there, they wouldn’t have sold it for billions. Even if they had brought them billions, they wouldn’t have sold it.
Specifically the holiest place, which is the opening to the Garden of Eden, specifically the place that is the opening to the Garden of Eden, specifically there Adam and Chava are kept, there all the prayers ascend by way of Me’arat HaMachpelah, exactly there.
So Me’arat HaMachpelah was called a place of darkness, demons, and ghosts. Everyone was certain that there were demons and ghosts there, were afraid to come near the place and said that there it’s a place of demons, there it’s a place of ghosts. Today there already are no demons, but once there were demons.
About Me’arat HaMachpelah, they said such a terrible thing. Why? Because Hashem confused them. Hashem sealed their eyes shut, struck them with blindness. All the residents of the land He struck with blindness. All the residents of Hevron He struck with blindness so that they would think that this was a place of demons and ghosts, and would be afraid to come to this place.
And Avraham, in the merit of the hospitality to guests which he performed – if a person performs hospitality to guests, then there are no demons or ghosts. A person rises at Chatzot, sits down on the ground in the afternoon [to say Tikkun Chatzot during the Three Weeks], then he vanquishes all the demons and ghosts. This was the power of Avraham Avinu, that he succeeded in vanquishing all the demons and ghosts.
This was the Hittite. Jebus is the Hittites. After this, they ascended to Jerusalem. The oath was that Avraham swore to the Hittite: You receive Me’arat HaMachpelah on the condition that you won’t conquer Jerusalem, that you won’t enter Jerusalem on us.
Because they knew that Avraham was receiving the Land of Israel – “To your descendants I will give this land” (Breishit 12:7). They knew that there was such an oath. Then who could fight with the blind and the lame? That is to say, who could stand up to the oath of Avraham Avinu?
This is the question. This is the problem. Avraham made an oath that the Jews wouldn’t conquer Jerusalem. He swore that a Jew wouldn’t conquer Jerusalem – [that] it will always belong to the non-Jews. If Jews come, then oy vavoy. They were saying this also now, only that they didn’t know that there is such an oath at all. They would have said this immediately to Biden, that there is an oath here. What is the meaning? That this is theirs.
Avraham swore to the Arabs, and they are all Arabs, that the Jewish people would not conquer Jerusalem. He swore to them mamash. They said to him, “You won’t enter Me’arat HaMachpelah unless you swear to us.” And they wrote this oath on giant public notices, massive signs, that they won’t conquer Jerusalem, that it’s forbidden for you to conquer Jerusalem.
David asked: “Who isn’t afraid of the oath of Avraham Avinu? I can’t! Is there someone here who isn’t afraid?” Yoav said, “I’m not afraid.” Why isn’t he afraid?
This is written in the verse, “Yoav sustained the rest of the city” (I Chronicles 11:8). Like Avraham, that 24 hours, [his hospitality] was open. Avraham brought in guests for 24 hours [a day]. So who merited that also by him for 24 hours his hospitality to guests was open? Only Yoav ben Tzeruya.
The Gemara says this (Sanhedrin 49): Yoav was the only one amongst all the Jewish people, that by him there were no gabbaim [assistants, i.e. people to block entry]. By Yoav, everyone would enter and eat, drink like by Rabbi Yeshaya’la of Kerestir.