parashas Toledos 3rd aliyah

(Genesis 26:13-22)

by Tzvi Schnee

November 26, 2019

28 Chesvan 5780

Isaac relocates from the land of the Philistines, after being subjected to their envy of him, for Isaac “had possessions of flocks, and possessions of herds, and a great household; and the Philistines envied him” (Genesis 26:14, JPS 1917 Tanach). Then, “Abimelech said unto Isaac: ‘Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we'” (Genesis 26:16, JPS).

So, Isaac travelled to the valley of Gerar. While there his servants found a “well of living water” while digging in the valley (Genesis 26:19, JPS). However, the local herdmen contended with the herdmen of Isaac. They claimed that the water was theirs; so, Isaac named the well Esek, meaning “contention” (26:20).

The second well dug by Isaac’s herdmen also garnered strife with the locals; so, that well was named Sitnah, meaning “enmity” (Genesis 26:22). A third well was found, wherein there were no complaints. This well was named Rehoboth, meaning “room” (Genesis 26:22), seemingly denoting the area of land where Isaac settled, free of previous complications. A place with room to breathe, and space to grow (spiritually).

According to commentary, the three wells represent the three Temples. The first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians, who razed it to the ground (2 Chronicles 36:19). The second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. The Third Beis HaMikdash (Temple), will be built in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem; Ezekiel 40-48), when there will be peace (Ramban).

“And many peoples shall go and say: ‘Come ye, let us go up to the mountain of the L-RD, to the house of the G-d of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His path.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the L-RD from Jerusalem.” – Isaiah 2:3, JPS 1917 Tanach

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