I'm heading up to the Golan for Shabbos shortly so this week's Dvar Torah is a little shorter than usual. Enjoy and have a great Shabbos!
This week’s parshah tells the story of Yitzchak, the middle link in the chain of the Avos. In the third aliyah, the Torah tells the story of Yitzchak digging three wells and the subsequent disputes with the shepherds of Grar over them. The Torah goes into great depth on this, even including the names of the wells with reasons for each one. These pesukim have almost no bearing on the rest of the parshah or the Torah for that matter, so why does the Torah spend so much time discussing it?
The Ramban explains that this is a case of “מעשה אבות סימן לבנים”, that whatever happens to our ancestors is a sign of what will happen to us. Yitzchak called the first well, “עֵשֶׂק”, meaning “contention”, since Grar was disputing the ownership of the well. This corresponds to the first Beis Hamikdash, when the Goyim constantly contended with us and waged war against us until the Beis Hamikdash was finally destroyed. The second well was called “שִׂטְנָה”, meaning to harm or injure, and corresponds to the second Beis Hamikdash. This name is an even stronger language than “עֵשֶׂק” since the second Beis Hamikdash was challenged from its inception, as opposed to the first which was only challenged closer to its destruction.
The third well, which the shepherds of Grar did not dispute, was called, “רְחֹבוֹת”, which comes from the word “ירחיב”, meaning to widen. This corresponds to the third Beis Hamikdash, at which time Hashem will “widen” our borders so the Goyim cannot come close to us to wage war.
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