Toldot – Brimming
NY City Candle lighting
5:35. Shabbat ends 6:34. Rosh Chodesh Kislev is
Sunday and Monday. The Molad is Sunday afternoon,
12:14 and 4 Chalakim. For candle lighting times go
TOLDOT: BRIMMING WATERS
Shalom and Bracha!
This Shabbat we bless the month of Kislev
and read the portion of Toldot. The portion begins with the
birth of Yaakov and Esav and concludes with Yitzchak blessing
Yaakov and sending him to his uncle Lavan, Rivkah’s brother, in
order to find a wife.
One subject that is frequently mentioned in this week’s
portion is the digging of wells. First the Torah mentions that
Yitzchak redug the wells that his father had dug but had been
filled with earth by the Philistines. Thereafter the Torah
relates that his servants dug three new wells brimming with
living waters. Local shepherds contested two of the wells that
the servants dug, but the third was uncontested, which served as
a sign of Hashem’s blessing for prosperity and security.
Whatever the Torah tells us is a lesson in our service of
Hashem. We must therefore seek to understand the significance of
The Ramban explains that the three wells represent the three
Temples in Yerushalayim: the Temples of Solomon, of Ezra, and of
Moshiach. The contesting of the first two wells represents the
destruction of the first two Temples, and the third well being
uncontested represents the eternity of the third Temple. We must
seek to understand the significance of the parable of wells to
represent the Holy Temple.
Dry ground and rocks appear to be barren, lacking any sign
of life. By digging deep, we can reveal a well, a source of
life. The deeper one digs, the more and purer water one reveals.
Once uncovered, the source doesn’t need to be replenished.
Unlike rainwater, which must come from the sky, spring water
needs only to be revealed. In service of Hashem, this parallels
revealing the G-dly nature that is within each person and within
every aspect of the world. Interestingly, according to Jewish
law spring water can purify in cases when rain water cannot. Our
hidden good is more powerful than our revealed goodness. Often
wells rise on there own once revealed. This represents the deep
desire of the goodness hidden in each person and object to be
Everything in the world was created by Hashem for a purpose
and therefore is essentially G-dly. Every person possesses a
soul and therefore is essentially good. Sometimes, the goodness
and the G-dliness are hidden beneath a thick and coarse
exterior. Our purpose in the world is to reveal that goodness
and that G-dliness. The deeper we dig, the more good and
G-dliness we reveal. By doing so, we make each individual and
the world as a whole a dwelling place for G-d. This is the
central concept of the construction of the Temple, creating a
dwelling place for Hashem as the Torah says, “Make for Me a Holy
place and I will dwell amongst you.”
When we have begun to reveal the goodness and G-dliness in
the world, but not finished the job, there is contention. When
we have finished the job, on the contrary, there will be perfect
consent and peace.
In Jewish law, well water is considered purer than rainwater
and has a greater power to purify people and objects that have
been defiled. Spring water is also generally considered better
in quality. The special qualities of spring water are because
the water penetrates and passes through the crevices, rocks and
dirt. This symbolizes overcoming adversity. When one overcomes
adversity, it not only purifies the person, it gives them
strength to affect the world and bring purity to others.
Isaac’s blessing at the end of the portion beings with the words
“And G-d will give you.” Rashi notes that the word “and” is
superfluous and implies that G-d will give and give again. Isaac
blessed Jacob and his offspring that they will be blessed with
revealed good and the power to reveal and enjoy the hidden good.
The Baal Shem Tov ascended to the Heavenly chamber of
Moshiach and asked him when he will arrive. Moshiach answered
him “when your wellsprings (The Baal Shem Tov’s teachings) will
spread outward.” The month of Kislev is the month of the
revelation of Chassidut. May it be Hashem’s will that we will
immediately merit the coming of Moshiach.
Dedicated to Elazar Chaim Rafael
Ben Sarah for a full and speedy recovery
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