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    There are many
    fascinating secrets hidden
    in Biblical Names and
    here are two intriguing
    examples from this
    week’s parsha Chayei
    The Torah tells us about
    Efron HaChiti. Here
    was a man who made it into the Torah for all
    time because he had a very special piece of
    real estate. In his possession was the rarified
    burial site of Adam and Chava, the direct
    handiwork of Hashem. This was the very
    essence of his existence–that he would be the
    messenger to transfer ownership of the M’oras
    HaMachpelah to Avraham Avinu.
    There was also a great personal challenge
    involved: whether or not Efron would be
    generous or stingy in the sale. History revealed
    that, while he promised much, he was miserly
    in the extreme, exacting from Avraham four
    hundred shekel kesef – a princely sum – and
    he further demanded that its payment in the
    most liquid of currencies.
    Lo and behold, all of these events are directly
    hidden in Efron’s name. The word Efron is
    an anagram of the ‘pira-on,’ which means
    ‘to exact payment,’ for that was precisely
    what Efron did. The word Efron can also

    be read afaron, dust and earth, since he
    exacted payment for the earth of the M’oras
    But, that’s not all. Towards the end of the
    incident, the Torah drops the letter vav from
    Efron’s name to depict his cheapness and
    smallness of character. Spelled without the
    vav, the word Efron consists of an ayin-which

    equals 70, a fei-which equals 80, a reish-
    which equals 200, and a nun-which equals

    50. Remarkably, the value of these letters
    totals 400 in gematria, the exact amount that
    Efron insisted upon in payment for the M’oras
    HaMachpelah. This is yet another marvelous
    example of the secrets working in Biblical
    After Yitzchak’s marriage, the Torah tells us,
    “Vayosef Avraham vayikach ishah u’shmah
    Keturah – Avraham added a wife by the name
    of Keturah.” Rashi informs us that she was
    none other than Hagar. Why the name change?
    Rashi gives us two reasons. First, her deeds
    were as sweet as ketores, the sweet smelling
    incense offered on the altar. Second, Keturah
    contains the Aramaic word katar which means
    ‘to tie,’ alluding to the fact that, after leaving
    Avraham, she abstained from relations with
    any other man (cf. Rashi).
    Let’s analyze Rashi’s first reason. If she was
    called Keturah because of her sweet deeds,

    why wasn’t she called Naomi or Naamah?

    These are names of great people (the mother-
    in-law of Rus and the wife of Noach) who

    were named after their ne’imus, their sweet
    deeds. Why the additional analogy to the
    ketores? I believe that this comparison is to
    indicate that Hagar’s sweetness of character
    came out after she was ‘burnt’ by the suffering
    of being expelled from Avraham and Sorah’s
    home. Thus, she was compared to the incense
    that only emits a sweet fragrance upon being
    Rashi’s second reason, that her name
    indicates her fidelity to Avraham, even after
    being evicted from his home with her son,
    reveals a profound massage. Hagar was a
    Mitzris and the Mitzrim were known for their
    promiscuous and lewd nature. That Hagar
    went against her natural inclination and
    remained faithful to Avraham was a supreme
    exhibition of breaking her nature and doing
    good. In this, she showed that she was an
    admirable match for Avraham who we know
    went against his nature of kindness to offer
    his son on the Akeidah. Thus, this new name
    beautifully shows that, although the initial
    reason for taking Hagar – namely to have
    Yitzchak – no longer applied. Keturah was a
    fitting mate in her own right. Thus we have
    yet another wonderful examples of how a
    name sheds light on the person’s makeup.

    Once again, may Hashem bless us to reach
    the successes hidden within our own names,
    and may we live healthy and happy lives to
    greet the Moshiach speedily in our days.