Parshah Toldoth: “The water is ours….”

Parshah Toldoth – Torah Reading for Genesis 26.19-20

B’rashith (Genesis) 26.19-20 “And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of living water. And the shepherds of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s shepherds, saying, “The water is ours”; so he named the well Esek, because they had contended with him.”

“Throughout the books of the prophets of Israel and as well as within the Talmud, the Torah itself is metaphorically compared to and even called water. Just as water has the ability to convert desolate and nonproductive desert land into a veritable Garden of Eden, so too can Torah fill the void in our hearts and souls and make us productive holy people.

Torah, like the water that represents it, has this enormous regenerative power.” (Quoting Rabbi Berel Wein)

YOCHANAN: saying, “The water is ours” – the “interpretation” is ours –

Here, we see the inhabitants of the land, Jews, Christians and Arabs contending over “the water” that is, the [Jewish version of the] Akeida (Binding of Isaac) vs. Christians interpretation, (Romans 9:7, 8 Romans 8:9 ) vs. Islam’s interpretation of the “Test of Avraham” (B’rashith-Genesis 22.1-19) as celebrated with Eid al-Adha, the “Festival of the Sacrifice” –

What do we find, mah mitzanu? – Proverbs 22:28 “Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors.” 26.16 And Abimelech said unto Isaac: ‘Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we.’ 17 And Isaac departed thence, and encamped in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. 18 And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham; and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.

Rabbenu Bechaye Bereshit 26:19 “And Isaac’s servants dug in the valley, and they found there a well of living waters.” (Bereshit 26:19) The Ramban explains this, saying: the Torah describes the story of these wells at length not in order that we benefit so much from it, or that it reflects such glory on Yitzchak, but rather because the story is hinting at the future.

2 Chronicles 14:12-15 – “And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the L-RD, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil. 14And they smote all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of the LORD came upon them: and they spoiled all the cities; for there was exceeding much spoil in them. 15They smote also the tents of cattle, and carried away sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem.”

for there was exceeding much spoil in them. this comes to teach that much can be gleaned from the story of the”contention over the wells” concerning the servants of Abimilech and spoils of Gerar –

26.6 And Isaac dwelt in Gerar. 18 And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham; and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.

therefore we must always insist that the water, (Torah and it’s interpretation) is ours!

****