Chayei Sarah - Greed Built into the DNA

During the discussion between Avraham and Ephron over the purchase of the burial plot for Sarah, there is an interesting issue one of the verses.
 וַיִּשְׁמַע אַבְרָהָם אֶל עֶפְרוֹן וַיִּשְׁקֹל אַבְרָהָם לְעֶפְרֹן אֶת הַכֶּסֶף אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר בְּאָזְנֵי בְנֵי חֵת אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שֶׁקֶל כֶּסֶף עֹבֵר לַסֹּחֵר
בראשית כג:טז
Here, unlike all the other mentions of Ephron, in one instance the name Ephron appears without one letter, the letter Vav.

Says the Baal HaTurim, this instance of the name Ephron appears with out the letter 'Vav' (אפרן). This word has the Gematria (numerical equivalent) of the word "רע עין" - at a value of 400 (Reish is 200, Eyin 70x2, Yud 10, Nun 50), which means stinginess or greedy. And so the 400 [of  his greediness] comes in counter to the 400 silver pieces that Avraham paid Ephron in order purchase to the Maharat HaMachpelah (Cave of the Double), the seminal resting place of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs.

Was Ephron a slippery character?
Is the missing Vav hinting at deeper, more profound flaws?
Why Vav? What is the significance of the absence of this letter?

A Fair Price?
Rashi notes on this verse that the name Ephron "is spelled without a “vav,” because he promised much but did not do even a little [i.e., he promised the cave as a gift but took a great deal of money for it]" This is illustrated in the pasuk that appears earlier.
"No, my lord, listen to me. I have given you the field, and the cave that is in it, I have given it to you. Before the eyes of the sons of my people, I have given it to you; bury your dead."
Breisheit 23:11
In one verse, Ephron emphasizes the gift that he is offering Avraham, with 3 consecutive mentions of giving. Yet, the attractive offer goes from a gift to a high price in just a few verses.
And Ephron replied to Abraham, saying to him, "My lord, listen to me; a [piece of] land worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is it between me and you? Bury your dead."
Breisheit 23:14-15
The 'gift' quickly appreciates and becomes a mere 400 sheckels of silver. Like a smooth salesman, Ephron tries to get his client to take possession of the product, belittling the money issues, and pushing them off to be dealt with later.

Says the Ramban, that it appears that Ephron tried to exact a value for this property that was far inflated from the market price. And the Ramban brings the Gemarah:
...the wicked promise much and do not perform even little. Whence do we know? — From Ephron. At first it is written, "The land is worth four hundred shekels of silver;" but subsequently, "And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant"; indicating that he refused to accept anything but centenaria, (Centenarius = 100 manehs; a maneh = 100 zuz = 25 shekels.) for there is a place where shekels are called centenaria. (Hence he gave him 400 centenaria, instead of ordinary shekels as he demanded at first: this is deduced from the phrase ‘current money with the merchant’, implying that it was recognised everywhere as a shekel)
Baba Metzia 87A (Soncino Translation)
At this exchange rate, the 400 centenaria comes to 10,000 sheckels.
Rav Aryeh Kaplan in The Living Torah further expands on the underhanded nature of  this deal.
Considering land values at the time this was highly excessive. Thus, for example, King Omri paid only 6000 sheckels for the entire territory of Samaria. (Kings I 16:25)

The Power of the Letter Vav
Says the Kli Yakar, expanding on the words of the Baal HaTurim, the Talmud in Baba Batra addresses the significance of the absence of the letter Vav.
R. Isaac also said: He who gives a small coin to a poor man obtains six blessings, and he who addresses to him words of comfort obtains eleven blessings.
Baba Batra 9B (Soncino Translation)
Continuing on this foundation, the Kli Yakar naturally concludes that anyone, then, that does not give even a 'prutah' to the poor is not deserving of the six blessings. Hence Ephron's name is missing the letter Vav, which has the value of six. This is indicative of his true nature, one who is stingy, penny-pinching, and greedy.

The Kli Yakar shows us that we also learn about the fate of those entrenched in miserly characteristics.

R. Joshua b. Levi also said: We give the cup of blessing for the recital of the Grace after meals only to one who is of a generous disposition, as it is said: He who has a generous eye [a good eye] will be blessed, for he gave of his bread to the poor (Mishle 22:9), read not ‘will be blessed’ but rather 'shall say the Blessing'.
Sotah 38B
That is to say, the person who was not generous, and did not give to the poor is of a Bad Eye, or as the Baal HaTurim described an "רע עין".  Where do we see the six blessings in this discussion in Sotah?

We must look at the verse quoted in its source to understand the point here.
טוֹב-עַיִן, הוּא יְבֹרָךְ:    כִּי-נָתַן מִלַּחְמוֹ לַדָּלמשלי כב ט
The word  'will be blessed' is written as "יְבֹרָךְ" - without a Vav. The Talmud explains to pronounce this as if it as has a Vav, as "יְבֹורָךְ". Says the Kli Yakar, both the written and pronounced approach fit together, since one who is generous to others is ultimately blessed himself. Likewise the opposite holds true.

4 Bad Events Connected to 400
The Kli Yakar finds further basis to connect more bad events to the amount of 400 - the amount paid for burial cave, and numerical value of bad eye  "רע עין" , miserliness.

1. The episode with Ephron
2. The sale of Joseph down to Egypt, set in motion the eventual enslavement of the Jewish people - a circumstance that was destined to last for ... 400 years (Breisheit 15:13).
3. Yaacov returns to Canaan and faces his brother Esau in what he fears could be the final confrontation. Yaacov's messengers scout out Esau's group and report that Esau approaches with ... 400 men (Breisheit 32:7)
4. Naval, the wealthy man living in the Carmel, that the Tanach describes as "the man was hard, and of evil deeds; and he was a Calebite." (Shmuel A 25:5) And David approached him with ... 400 men.

Learning the Traits of Generosity
So we see sources and examples validating the power of 6, and the importance of its absence. The 'six' or the Vav plays a major role here and provides great insight into one's true nature.  From this one unassuming, slim letter we learn that our lives should go down a path of showing generosity to others.

We also learn the contra to this. That should we lack the Vav in our lives, not only do we not merit the six special blessings but we bring upon ourselves the power of the Bad Eye - the power of 400.

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