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This M.Y. question suggests that a Talmid Chacham should distance himself from an am ha'aretz - an ignoramus.

While Avraham was not a rabbi, he would probably be considered a Talmid Chacham in the literal sense of the term, which means a "wise student". He was wise, and he was always learning new things, and improving himself, his behavior and his observance of G-d's commandments, etc.

With that idea, it seems puzzling that the Torah says in Breishit 23:7

ויקם אברהם וישתחו לעם הארץ

Abraham rose and bowed down to the ignoramuses

If Abraham was a Talmid Chacham, how could he even be near them, let alone bow down to them in gratitude?


This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.

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    a Talmid Chacham in the literal sense of the term, which means a "wise student". Actually the term means, 'a student of a wise one'. – mevaqesh Mar 13 '17 at 22:34
  • @mevaqesh That's a fair question, actually. But in terms of Purim stuff, I said he was a Talmid Chacham, which is the term used in the Gemarah. Here, I used the term to mean "wise student", which if you follow the idea could be the same meaning in the Gemarah, too. Re - 2nd comment, it could go either way - "Chacham" could be either an adjective or a noun. – DanF Mar 13 '17 at 22:35
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    @mevaqesh I know Purim is over, but we generally have lower standards of both proving assumptions and exactness of terminology for PTIJ. In fact, it's often the entire foundation of a good PTIJ. – Y     e     z Mar 14 '17 at 2:04
  • @Yez I am well aware. In this case the OP tries to source his assumptions, and a few more sources wouldn't hurt. I didn't downvote. Also his mistranslation of talmid hakham is an unnecessary mistake that isn't even necessary for the question. – mevaqesh Mar 14 '17 at 2:07
  • The term talmid hakham means a student of a wise one, as evidenced by the plural; talmidei hakhamim; not talmidim hakhamim. – mevaqesh Mar 14 '17 at 2:08
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Since the mefarshim in Chayei Sarah say that the term there is used for the parliament, we see that the politics of that day was similar to the politics of our day. Just as many of the members of Congress would be considered עם הארץ in both senses of the word and insist on being flattered and bowed to before they would consider allowing a foreigner to settle, so to they wanted to make sure that Avraham treated them with respect before they would allow him to bury his wife. In order to deal with politicians (a synonym for עם הארץ) one is forced to bow to them and make them think that they have respect and honor.

Rabbi Hertz says that technically Avraham was adopted into the clan of Ephron so that he then had the ability to acquire the the land. The exhorbitant amount of money paid had to be used for the bribes to allow him to become a citizen (and therebye own land).

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  • This sounds more like a serious answer that has quite a bit of credibility as one. You may want to keep this "around" in case I move this to a regular question. – DanF Mar 15 '17 at 13:55
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Avaraham Avinu was a Rosh Yeshiva, and as many Rosh Yeshivas need to do from time to time, they must collect money from Baale Batim, many of whom are even unlearned.

Sometimes, for the sake of the Yeshiva, the Rosh Yeshiva must debase himself (respectfully of course) and "butter up" the Amei Haaretz to get them to give more money.

This was the case in this instance. As Avraham Avinu knew through Ruach Hakodesh that many generations would come to pray and to learn in Chevron at this kever.

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