Weekly Drash - Toldot
Compliments of First Fruits of Zion
Toldot – תולדות : “Generations”
Thought for the Week:
The three wells Isaac dug represent the three holy temples of Jerusalem. King Solomon built the first Temple, and it was destroyed by the Babylonians. The returnees from Babylon built the second Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans. King Messiah will build the third Temple, and it will never be destroyed. (Nachnamides)
Genesis 26:12-32: As the Philistines watched Isaac grow richer and richer from their land and their water, they began to grow envious. At last the Philistine animosity grew to the point where they cut off his water supplies. They filled in his wells, though they were wells that had been dug by Abraham.
The Torah says that Isaac reopened the wells of his father Abraham. Not only did Isaac reopen the wells, but he named them the same names Abraham had named them. The Torah describes how the names of four various wells arose. From the narrative, it seems as if Isaac was naming the wells without any thought as to what they were called in his father’s day. But actually, each well is a well originally dug by Abraham. Each name is a name originally given by Abraham. When Isaac was encamped at Beersheba (Well of the Oath), he swore a covenant oath with the Philistine King. His servants reported a well they had dug and he named it Beersheba, Well of the Oath—the same name Abraham had given it a generation ago when he made a treaty with the previous Abimelech.
We learn from Isaac the importance of returning to the original. Isaac certainly could have dug new wells. Instead he chose to restore Abraham’s wells. He could have chosen new names. Instead he chose to name them the same names that Abraham had named them.
In a similar way, the biblical path of faith is not one of innovation and novelty. Instead, we find our spirits satisfied drinking from the wells of faith from which our father’s drank. When the Master offered the woman at the well the living water of salvation, he spoke not of literal water, but of salvation. But the well over which he offered that water was, after all, Jacob’s well.
The journey into the Hebrew Roots of our faith is much like Isaac’s journey back to the wells of his father Abraham. We find that these original sources have been filled in and hidden from us. The Sabbath has been concealed. The Festivals have been concealed. The Torah itself has been, as it were, filled in with earth. Yet we need not dig new wells or create new names. If we will only make the effort to open these original wells up again, we will find that they are as deep and water-filled as they were when first dug.
Shavuah Tov! Have a Good Week!
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