Topic: Consciousness | Posted:November 6, 2013
The portion Vayetze begins with Jacob running away. He comes to a well with a big, heavy stone on top of it, and there are three shepherds there waiting for all the other shepherds to come help them move it. But Jacob proceeds to remove the stone all by himself.
We know that everything we find in the Torah has great secrets within it. So, what is the secret of the well that Jacob finds? In order to really understand it, we have to go a little further back to last week's portion, Toldot, where there is the discussion about wells that Abraham dug and that Isaac re-dug. As Nachmanides, the Ramban, points out, there must be very important Light and understanding within these stories; it can't just be a story about finding and covering wells.
In Toldot, there was a discussion about Isaac starting to dig the same wells that his father Abraham had dug, but that the other inhabitants of the land had covered up. And the servants of Isaac dug and they found a wellspring of living water. When they uncovered this wellspring of living water a fight developed between the shepherds, each claiming to own the water of that well. There was a second well that they dug and, again, there were fights, and they moved away from there and they dug a third well and with this well there was no argument. The third well was given the name Rehovot because it represents the ability to manifest and open up their land because now there are no more fights.
The Ramban is very clear about the need and purpose for these verses, telling us that this whole discussion – of both last week's portion Toldot regarding the wells Abraham and Isaac dug, and this week's portion of Vayetze regarding the well of Jacob - is not speaking about what happened in the past, but rather it’s speaking about our time.
When it talks in the Torah about a wellspring of living water it is not referring to physical water or the finding of physical wells, but rather it is referring to the resting place of the Light of the Creator. Therefore, the Torah specifically uses the term, “a wellspring of living water,” because it refers to a resting place of the Light of the Creator that will be built. In the First and Second Temple there was a place where the Light of the Creator rested, and anybody who had a need, anybody who had a problem, could immediately go to the Temple and draw down the wellspring of living Light that resided there.
The Ramban then goes on to explain why there were three wells. The first two Temples, the first two resting places of the Light of the Creator which were built by the descendants of Abraham and Isaac, were destroyed. The secret of the third well is that it represents the Third Temple - the time and place where the totality of the Light of the Creator will be revealed and will never be removed. Abraham and Isaac represent the First Temple and the Second Temple which were great Lights when they were in existence, but were destroyed. The Third Temple, the secret of the well of Jacob, is the one that will never be destroyed. It is the place from which the light of the Gemar HaTikun, the light to remove all pain, suffering, and death from this world comes.
That is the secret of the wells. When the Torah speaks about the wells it speaks about the opening up of the channel of Light. Abraham and Isaac opened up channels that were eventually closed again. But in the case of Jacob, the well that is spoken about in Vayetze is a connection to a flow of light of the Gemar HaTikun, a flow of light of the End of the Correction. So, when we read this portion on Shabbat Vayetze, we know that this Light is awakened throughout the week. When we read about the well of Jacob, we're actually awakening and connecting to the Light of the Third Temple that will be revealed and last forever.
But we want to go even a little bit further, because as the kabbalists explain, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob viewed the purpose of their lives as uncovering these existing, but un-accessed, channels of Light. Abraham did it, but then negativity came and hid that Light and wisdom. Isaac came and uncovered it again, but it was again concealed. Until Jacob, in Vayetze, opens them up. And it is important to understand that this reality also exists within every single one of us; it’s not just the work of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Because really, what is the work of a spiritual person? It is to go to somebody who finds him or herself in the clutches of the physical world and show that they can open up a conduit of Light, of these living waters.
It’s an important consciousness to have during the week of Vayetze. We need to view our life as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob viewed theirs - to awaken these pathways, this living water which is the Light of the Creator. That's how Abraham saw it. When Abraham spoke to somebody it wasn't that he was trying to impart wisdom or give over some understanding; his simple consciousness was, my job here is to re-attach this person to a flow of the Light of the Creator.
If we think, when somebody is in need of assistance, that we are somehow going to give them wisdom or understanding then we are not doing the spiritual work. Instead, when we talk to somebody we should be thinking, “I don't have to do anything new for them. I just have to awaken them to attach to this flow of Light, this wellspring of living water that is the Light of the Creator.” And that’s how we are meant to see our work. Our purpose in our interactions with people is simply to re-attach them to this flow of the living water.