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Try Digging New Wells When Necessary

11/04/2021 08:27:20 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

How could I not write about the Atlanta Braves and their World Series victory this week – it is such a source of excitement for Atlanta and for Braves fans everywhere!  Post-game analyses and other sports commentators have noted that in addition to the obvious talent of the players, the Braves’ unanticipated and truly spectacular victory can also be attributed to the excellent leadership and direction of Head Coach, Brian Snitker.  In particular, Snitker demonstrated a readiness to attempt new strategies and not simply rely on the same formula as the season progressed: from mid-season pitcher and other player acquisitions (including the Series MVP!), to a willingness to adjust the batting order when he deemed it necessary, to the coaching given to batters regarding their standard approach when at the plate, to any number of other changes made as the team navigated injuries and other challenges during the season.

In this week’s Torah portion (Toledot), Isaac and Rebecca, having amassed tremendous wealth and much livestock, become the source of great envy to the local Philistines.  Out of spite, the Philistines proceed to stop up all of the wells dug during Abraham’s time by filling them with rubble, and Isaac and Rebecca are told to leave the vicinity by Philistine’s king.  Now encamped in a wadi, Isaac began to dig anew the same water wells, again discovering the living waters his father had previously found.  However, the local shepherds quarreled with Isaac’s shepherds, contending that the water was theirs.  So Isaac moved on his servants removed the rubble from another of his father’s wells to reach the water below, but the same thing happened; the local shepherds argued that the water was theirs.  Again, Isaac and his servants moved on, this time digging a new well, and when the living waters were revealed, the locals did not protest.  Isaac named this well Rehovot, meaning that God had granted them ample space in which to live and become fruitful in the land.

Of course, there is a connection between the Torah portion and the victorious Braves…  Sometimes, returning to the same sources over and again for sustenance might not yield the positive results we seek. Rather, it is a willingness to dig new wells – a preparedness to experiment, to try new approaches, and to search for new sources of ‘water’ – that is needed to achieve the living waters we desire! 

Congratulations to the Atlanta Braves and Shabbat shalom.

Wed, December 1 2021 27 Kislev 5782