Avraham spends considerable money and effort to acquire the cave of machpelah. I think the medrash mentions that Adam and Chava were buried there. My question is, is the cave of machpelah special because of the people who were buried there, or was that area special and therefore the Avot and Emaot wanted to be buried there? If the cave of machpelah has some sort of significance apart from the people who are buried there, what is it?
- Anybody can ask a question
- Anybody can answer
- The best answers are voted up and rise to the top
The source of the name Maaras Hamachpeila could shed some light on this question. - According to one opinion in Eiruvin 53a, either Rav or Shmuel (the Gemara doesn't say which one said it) says the cave is named because it is "doubled with couples" i.e. there are many couples there. This would seem to imply that its main significance is who is buried there. (The other opinion says that it was named for its multiple levels.)
On the other hand, the Yalkut Reuveini brings from the Zohar on Chayei Sarah that this cave is the entranceway through which souls enter Gan Eden. This is why, the Zohar says, Adam chose to bury Chava there, and may very well be why Avraham wanted to bury Sarah there.
After Rav Avrohom Azulai (1570-1643) in his sefer Chesed L'Avrohom explains that the lower Garden of Eden is entered by way of the Garden, and that both the Garden and Gehinom - the dwelling place of harmful creatures and angels of destruction - are located on the north side of this lowly world, he writes:
Full text in English can be found here.