Well, Well, Well

Oct 29th, 2010 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week
Eliezer met Rebecca, Isaac’s intended, at a well. Jacob met Rachel at a well. Where is the well of Abraham and Sarah?

There were many wells in Abraham and Sarah’s story: After the Akeidah, Abraham “Stayed at Beer-sheba.” (22:19) Just before the Akeidah, Abraham planted an ‘eshel’ in Beer-sheba, where he had just entered into a covenant with Abimelech, and where he “disputed with Abimelech regarding the well of water that Abimelech’s servants had seized.”. (21:30-33) God opened Hagar’s eyes, and, “she perceived a well of water.” (21:19) It was Hagar’s second well: “Therefore the well was called, ‘The Well of the Living One Appearing to Me.’” (16:14)

With all wells in the Abraham and Sarah saga, we don’t find them together at a well, that is, until after she was buried:

“Now Isaac came from having gone to Beer-lahai-roi [The Well of the Living One Appearing to Me; Hagar’s well} for he dwelt in the south country. Isaac went out to supplicate in the field towards evening and he raised his eyes and saw, and behold, camels were coming. And Rebecca raised her eyes and saw Isaac; she inclined wile upon the camel. And she said to the servant, ‘Who is that man walking in the field toward us?’ And the servant said, ‘He is my master.’ And Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother; he married Rebecca, she became his wife, and he loved her; and thus was Isaac consoled after his mother.” (24:62-67)

Isaac, returning from Hagar’s well, saw camels. Rebecca, coming to Isaac, “raised her eyes and saw Isaac.” This was the ‘Meeting at the Well’ of Isaac and Rebecca; and, the ‘Meeting at the Well’ of Abraham and Sarah: “And Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother.” “And thus was Isaac consoled after his mother.”

Abraham’s father arranged the match between Abraham and Sarah. There was no magical moment of meeting. They had to create their own magical moments, their own sense of a future shaped by them, not by their past. Abraham and Sarah had to create their ‘Meeting at the Well,’ their sense of the possibilities of life. Isaac was raised with that sense of possibility, as was Jacob.

Isaac searched for the ‘Meeting at the Well’ of Abraham and Sarah; he was looking for camels, not people, because he wanted a sign of a well for his parents. He was returning from Hagar’s well, something Sarah seemed to never have. He was never consoled that his parents never shared a well. He knew that his intended was on her way to him, but he was out at Hagar’s well. Where was that magical moment of connection between Abraham and Sarah?

It was in his connection with Rebecca. The moment that Isaac found his destiny, he realized that all the hopes and dreams of his parents were realized. They had something far more powerful than a magical ‘Meeting at a Well,’ they had a magical meeting at the end of their lives, when everything they had done, came together. “And thus was Isaac consoled after his mother.”

Which ‘Meeting at the Well’ is the more powerful?

Author Info:
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