Toldos

The Kli Yakar discusses the three wells that Yitzchak excavates, and which the Torah details at length, in this week’s parsha. (Breishis 26:14-33)
The the three wells, says the Kli Yakar, are veiled references to the three Batei Mikdash.

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וַיָּרִיבוּ רֹעֵי גְרָר עִם רֹעֵי יִצְחָק לֵאמֹר לָנוּ הַמָּיִם וַיִּקְרָא שֵׁם הַבְּאֵר עֵשֶׂק כִּי הִתְעַשְּׂקוּ עִמּוֹ
And the shepherds of Gerar quarreled with Yitzchak’s shepherds, saying, “The water is ours”; so he named the well Esek, because they had contended with him.

This is the first Beis HaMikdash. Two factions argued. The era of the first Beis HaMikdash was defined by two factions, Malchei Yisrael against the Malchei Yehudam, arguing over who deserved to be king.#2
וַיַּחְפְּרוּ בְּאֵר אַחֶרֶת וַיָּרִיבוּ גַּם עָלֶיהָ וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמָהּ שִׂטְנָה 
And they dug another well, and they fought about it too; so he named it Sitnah.
 

This is the second Beis HaMikdash, which was defined by hatred between everyone – an even worse set of circumstances than the first. The Torah emphasizes that the first conflict over the wells was fought by the shepherds; a metaphor for the leaders, similar to the struggle for leadership by the destruction of the First Temple. The second quarrel “they” just fought; it was baseless hatred. Furthermore, they failed to heed the lesson of the first well (and Temple):  וַיָּרִיבוּ גַּם עָלֶיהָ  = “they fought about this one too”.

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The third excavation, however, had no such strife:

וַיַּעְתֵּק מִשָּׁם וַיַּחְפֹּר בְּאֵר אַחֶרֶת וְלֹא רָבוּ עָלֶיהָ וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמָהּ רְחֹבוֹת וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי עַתָּה הִרְחִיב ה’ לָנוּ וּפָרִינוּ בָאָרֶץ

And he moved away from there, and he dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he named it Rechovot, and he said, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.”

The third well is defined by peace. The word for peace is שלום, from the root שלם = whole. With peace, there is wholeness, harmony and room for expansion.

 
Interestingly, immediately after the episodes of the wells, the last 2 verses in the chapter deal with Eisav and the fact that he caused much bitterness for Yitzchak and Rivkah. What is the connection, if any?

Chazal teach us that Eisav’s offspring can only be defeated by Rachel’s offspring (Bava Basra 123b).

After Eisav learns that Yaakov has received the bracha which had been intended for him, the Torah writes (27:41):
וַיִּשְׂטֹם עֵשָׂו אֶת יַעֲקֹב עַל-הַבְּרָכָה אֲשֶׁר בֵּרְכוֹ אָבִיו
 
Eisav has hatred for Yaakov, and would always bear a grudge against Yaakov. 
See also Amos 1:11
וְעֶבְרָתוֹ שְׁמָרָה נֶצַח
He [Edom/Eisav] kept his wrath forever.
 

By contrast, Yosef takes an entirely different approach following Yaakov’s passing in dealing with his brothers who wronged him. Following Yaakov’s passing, the brothers say (Breishis 50:15):

וַיִּרְאוּ אֲחֵי יוֹסֵף כִּי מֵת אֲבִיהֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוּ יִשְׂטְמֵנוּ יוֹסֵף
It may be that Yoseph will hate us
 

The brothers were afraid that Yosef would take revenge on them for selling him, and now that Yaakov has passed away, it would be time for reckoning. Yosef, however, forgives them unconditionally, bearing no grudge, understanding it was all Hashem’s plan (50:21):

וְעַתָּה אַל תִּירָאוּ אָנֹכִי אֲכַלְכֵּל אֶתְכֶם וְאֶת טַפְּכֶם וַיְנַחֵם אוֹתָם וַיְדַבֵּר עַל-לִבָּם

Also interesting to contrast language when Eisav decides to kill Yaakov, versus when Yosef eases his brothers’ fears.
 

27:42 (Eisav in Toldos)
הִנֵּה עֵשָׂו אָחִיךָ מִתְנַחֵם לְךָ לְהָרְגֶךָ
 
50:21 (Yosef in Vayechi)
וְעַתָּה אַל תִּירָאוּ אָנֹכִי אֲכַלְכֵּל אֶתְכֶם וְאֶת טַפְּכֶם וַיְנַחֵם אוֹתָם וַיְדַבֵּר עַל-לִבָּם
 
We associate nechama with consolation after a death or hardship, G-d forbid; not with planning a killing.
 
 

As offspring of Rachel we have this middah of being able to let go of hatred, correcting the sin’at chinam which destroyed Bayis Sheini, so that we may usher in Bayis Shlishi.

 

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