Vol 15.17 - Vayeira 2 Spanish French Audio Video
Likkutei Levi Yitzchak: The well is associated with Yitzchak even though the verse refers to Avraham. This is because the Plishtim stopped up the well of Avraham after his death. And Yitzchak dug it anew as it is written: "And Yitzchak returned and dug etc. and he called them after the names that that his father called them". c.f. Torah Or beginning of Parshat Toldot. Therefore it is associated with Yitzchak.
1. It states in the Zohar (3:284b:
"Three witnesses bear testimony (about Yisroel) and they are: the well of Isaac, the lottery and the stone that Joshua placed as it says: "in order that it be to me for a witness that I dug this well."
(Translation: There are three that stand as witness to bear testimony and they are the well of Isaac, the lottery and the stone that Joshua placed)
“From where do we know the well? As it is written (in our Parsha) "in order that it be to me for a witness that I dug this well."
It is not understood:
The verse “in order that it be to me for a witness” speaks regarding the wells that Avraham dug. Therefore, how can the Zohar call it the “well of Isaac”?
The Ramaz (R' Moshe Zacut) averts this question and states:
“This verse (“in order that it be to me for a witness etc.”) is said regarding Avraham. However, the well that he (Avraham) dug is the well of Isaac”.
However, this itself requires explanation:
How can one say regarding the well that Avraham dug that it is the “well of Isaac”?
2. My father (R’ Levi Yitzchak) in his notes in the margins of Zohar writes regarding this matter:
“The well is associated with Yitzchak even though the verse refers to Avraham. This is because the Plishtim stopped it up (Avraham’s wells) after his death. And Yitzchak dug it anew as it is written: "And Yitzchak returned and dug etc. and he called them after the names that that his father called them". c.f. Torah Or beginning of Parshat Toldot. Therefore it is associated with Yitzchak.”
The explanation of my father is, seemingly, the opposite of the explanation of the Ramaz:
It is understood and simple that according to the essence and Pnimiyut of the matter of digging wells, that both explanations have a place and reason.
One must understand:
In what lies the difference of the views, and why did my father, instead of (אנשטאט) explaining the matter like the Ramaz (whose explanation is cited many times in Chassidut) choose to explain it in another (and opposite) manner?
One could say that the reason for this is alluded to in the source (ציון) that my father cites in the end of his explanation:
“Look at this, in Torah Or beginning of Parshat Toldot. Look there”,
as will be explained.
In Torah Or there, it is explained that
Therefore, we find that regarding Avraham it states “Avraham my beloved” ( אוהב״) and by Isaac it states “and the awe (ופחד) of Isaac”. For the source of love stems from the Midah of Chesed whereas awe (fear) is from the Midah of Gevurah.
According to this distinction between the Avodah of Avraham and the Avodah of Isaac, the Alter Rebbe explains there (in Torah Or) the reason why the wells which Avraham dug were stopped up by the Plishtim. And specifically afterwards when Isaac dug the wells anew, that they remained. For (the Klippah) of the Plishtim can oppose only the path of Chesed of holiness and not the path of Gevurah.
4. The explanation of this is:
“Plishtim” is from the phrase “mavui mefulash“ (an alley-way open on both ends). This is why the Sages state that the “Plishtim were scoffers” (ליצנים). For scoffing comes “from the excessive opening of the heart, which is open and open from all sides” (מצד פתיחות הלב ביותר שהוא פתוח ומפולש מכל צד).
And since the aspect of Avraham’s digging wells is the Avodah of expanse (התרחבות) from the side of Chesed of holiness (חסד דקדושה). Namely, the motion (תנועה) of love, pleasure and happiness of G-dliness (אהבה, תענוג און שמחה באלקות) which is “greatly overpowered, more than normal“ (בהתגברות גדולה ביתר מכפי המדה) – therefore there can be the aspect of the “Plishtim stopping it up”. For the expanse of holiness gives room for the Yenika (nourishment) of the Plishtim. The expanse of the “opposing side” (לעו״ז,), which opposes holiness.
(However, the Yenika and opposing of the outer forces (חיצונים) in not applicable when the Midah of Avraham visibly illuminates in the person’s soul. This means in the time when the G-dly light visibly illuminates in the love and pleasure. Rather specifically when the G-dly light and pleasure is hidden. Then it is possible that the motion of expanse and the opening of the heart should lead to frivolity (הוללות) and happiness of Klippah.
And this is emphasized in the verse “And the Plishtim stopped them up, after the death of Avraham“. Namely, specifically after the love of holiness, was accomplished from him (“the death of Avraham”) and there remained in him just the motion of the opening of the heart. Only then was there a place for the opposing of the Plishtim (“the Plishtim stopped them up“).
However, Isaac’s wells were not touched by the Plishtim – for since Isaac‘s digging of the wells is the Avodah of fear and awe of holiness (יראה ופחד דקדושה), therefore the Plishtim, which are the “opposing force” (לעומת זה) of Chesed of holiness, could not stop up Isaac’s wells, whose aspect is Gevurah of holiness. For “No Midah of the opposing force has the ability to oppose except with regard to the corresponding Midah of holiness”.
5. Not only could the Plishtim not stop Isaac’s wells, but even more than that:
They could not stop up, even Avraham’s wells, although their aspect is Chesed, once Isaac dug them anew.
The explanation of this aspect is:
The property of the Midah of love is connected with the feeling of being (הרגש המציאות) (there is one to love). Fear, however, (and the acceptance of the yoke of Heaven (קבלת עול)) is the level of Bitul (of the being/ המציאות). Therefore, when the Avodah of a Yid is just with love and happiness alone, since he is standing in a motion of “self” (ישות) – even though it is a self of holiness (ישות דקדושה), it could lead to literal feeling of self. And from the expanse of holiness, in which he stands while in prayer, he will fall into the expanse of Klippah – frivolity and scoffing.
However, when the Avodah is also with fear and Kaballat Ol, the motion of Bitul and the abnegation of self, the Bitul does not allow that the outer forces should have a Yenika even from the expanse of the love and happiness.
From this it is understood, why the wells that Avraham dug were stopped up by the Plishtim, whereas afterward, when Isaac dug them anew, the Plishtim did not further stop them up. For when Avraham‘s wells (the Avodah of love and happiness) also contain the digging of Isaac (the motion of Bitul of fear and Kaballat Ol) then, it is not applicable that the outer forces should have a Yenika from them and therefore “their flow was not interrupted“.
6. According to the above explanation, it is understood, that the wells which Avraham dug, even though the Plishtim stopped them up and Isaac dug them anew, nevertheless, they are afterward, mainly considered Avraham‘s wells -the Avodah of love and happiness. And Isaac’s deeds (fear and Kaballat Ol) are in order to protect the existence of the love and happiness.
Therefore, my father explains that the intent of the Zohar in the phrase “the wells of Isaac” is
(not that the actual well belongs to Isaac, like the explanation of the Ramaz, but rather that this is the “well of Avraham” and it is)
just that “is associated with Isaac“. For the existence of Avraham‘s Avodah is through the Avodah of Isaac.
7. The reasoning in the aforementioned explanation of the Ramaz according to Torat HaChassidut is:
The aspect of digging wells (in general) is the Avodah in a manner of from below to above, which comes from the path of Gevurah of Isaac. As this is explained in many places. Therefore, the Ramaz explains that the well is primarily associated with Isaac ( the “well of Isaac”) the path of Gevurah . However, there is also the innovation of Avraham, the path of Chesed.
One could add:
In the Zohar there, it speaks, not regarding the well itself, but regarding the wells as “testimony” (עדות). Therefore, he calls it the “well of Isaac”. Since the aspect of “testimony” is to effect the “existence” of the matter which they testify on (the testimony of the witnesses nullifies the objections to the matter). The aspect of the existence in “well” was accomplished by Isaac, as aforementioned.
8. The aspect in Avodat HaAdam is:
The Avodah of a Yid must be with fear and Bitul. However, due to the great virtue of happiness, one must also have in this the path of happiness (the happiness however, must be hidden (בהעלם)).
From that which is explained in Torah Or (the beginning of Parsha Toldot) that through the “digging of Isaac, their flow was not interrupted” (of the wells which Avraham dug) it is understood that the innovation of Isaac (the path of Gevurah ) is in that, which through him, there was the existence of Avraham‘s wells – the Avodah of love and happiness.
This means that the Avodah is in the path of love (and the happiness) as is explained in the Zohar that “there is no service like the service of love” (לית פולחנא כפולחנא דרחימותא). However, in order that “happiness exist in it . . . one must preface it with fear” and acceptance of the yoke of the kingdom of Heaven.
MSichas Shabbat Parshat Vayelech, 5735
Gutnick Chumash pp. 118ff
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