Tag Archive for Eliezer

The Little Red Headed Girl

This article was constructed with the help of either writings, lectures or shiurim of Rabbi’s Noach Isaac Oelbaum, Asher Hurzberg, Mr. Boaz Davidoff
Everyone on the planet, at one point in his or her life, has had a crush, whether in grade school, high school or for that matter, even old school.  When Cupid shoots his arrow, we’re sitting ducks and those arrows sting at any age and time.  Unfortunately, this experience can be quite debilitating, as can any consuming obsession.
I was taken aback by an article I read, about the waste of precious time and energy which infatuation can cost a person and how this topic played a key role in one of my favorite childhood cartoons. Perhaps this is why so many found it easy to identify with the main character and his experiences.
Peanuts was a syndicated, American comic strip, written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz, which ran from October 2, 1950, to February 13, 2000. It was also made into cartoon TV specials, which earned high ratings. This strip is the most popular and influential in the history of comic strips, with 17,897 strips published in all, making it “arguably the longest story ever told by one human being”.
The premise focuses entirely on a miniature society of young children, with no shown adult characters. The main character, Charlie Brown, is meek, nervous and lacking in self-confidence. He is unable to fly a kite, win a baseball game, or kick a football.
One of the ongoing themes, is Charlie Brown’s infatuation with Little Red-Haired girl. Interestingly, Charles Schultz was inspired in this, by his personal experiences in real life.
A former co-worker, Donna Mae Wold (born Donna Mae Johnson January 3, 1929 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, died August 8, 2016 in Richfield, Minnesota), was Schulz’s inspiration for the character. A 1947 high school graduate, Johnson was working in the accounting department of Art Instruction Inc., a correspondence school where Schulz also worked. Johnson and Schulz eventually became romantically involved and dated for three years, but in 1950 when Schulz proposed to her, she turned him down, saying she was already engaged. Schulz was devastated, but he and Donna remained friends for the rest of his life. Schulz said of the relationship, “I can think of no more emotionally damaging loss, than to be turned down by someone whom you love very much. A person who not only turns you down, but almost immediately will marry the victor. What a bitter blow that is. Last summer, day after day, I called the Little Red-Haired Girl. And night after night, I wondered whether I would ever actually get to talk with her.”
Last July, Michael Cavna of the Washington Post, finally spoke with Ms. Wold, who was warm, humble and endearing, as well as reassuring that she had built a fulfilling and rewarding life. More than six decades ago, she had chosen her longtime firefighter husband over Charles M. Schulz. Schulz, the world-famous Peanuts creator, turned his heartache into art, with his scarlet-haired character.
“Oh, we dated for about two years,” Ms. Wold told me of her relationship with “Sparky” Schulz after they met at a Minneapolis instructional art school; both he and Allan Wold proposed marriage. “I loved him. I guess I chose Al because I knew all Al’s friends, who became my friends. I didn’t really know Sparky’s friends.”
“But it was a long time ago,” added Wold, speaking by phone from the Minneapolis area, where she had lived her full life, traveling and camping and adventuring (she loved the Grand Tetons) and becoming a mother to four and a foster mother to scores more.
Allan and Donna Wold married in 1950, the same year that Peanuts debuted.Schulz would introduce his mysterious, Donna inspired character to Peanuts readers on Nov. 12, 1963, as Charlie Brown said dreamily, “I’d sure like to eat lunch with that little red-haired girl.”
“She’s the object of his affection,” Jean Schulz, Sparky’s widow, told me last year. “We can’t [really] know her. … There’s this mystique and this fantasy.”
Ms. Wold lived in the shadow of that silhouette for more than a quarter-century, acknowledging her role of inspiration in 1989, upon the release of the Schulz biography, Good Grief. “It got her out in the spotlight just a little, not too much,” Allan Wold told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.
Donna Mae Johnson Wold died Aug. 9 of heart failure and complications from diabetes, the Star Tribune reported over the weekend. She was 87.She is survived by her husband; her daughters Sally Wold, Peggy Baumtrog and Susan Trulen; a sister, Margaret Olson; seven grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.”I’ve had a good life,” Ms. Wold told me last summer. “A very happy life.”
We live in a world in which it’s inevitable that we’ll have disappoint-ments. It is interesting to observe how the lives of Schultz and Wold took different paths. Did Schultz ever get over his love interest? We can often ask the same questions of ourselves. If we were able to overcome our feelings, how much pain staking time did we waste obsessing over them? How many different life decisions have we made, as the result of the emotional scars we were left with? It is sad to see poor, old Charlie Brown, dreaming his childhood away on that girl. The sweaty palms and practicing pickup lines in front of a mirror, are all too familiar. Wake up Charlie Brown!!!  We are all susceptible to plunge into those emotions, which can deter us from meeting someone else or prevent us from doing our work, advancing in our studies or building relationships. Of course, obsessions and their resulting negative effects, can arise over any area in life and are not limited to love interests.
The powerful, opening remark of our slichot, which we began reciting a month before Rosh Hashana, is BEN ADAM MAH LECHA NIRDAM- Son of Man why are you sleeping!! This phrase is designed to make us aware of our state of mind. The expression refers to a story from our Jewish history, where sailors approached the sleeping Yonah, when their ship was in dire straits. “We need your prayers; pray to your G-d, for we will all drown,” they said to him.  This statement is a wakeup call to us, as well. We too, have to wake up, smell the coffee and repent. We have been sleeping and letting life slip away. It’s about time to look for G-d before it is too late.
This lesson applies to every aspect of life, for in order to serve G-d properly- the reason why we are here- we cannot let anything deter us from being the best we can be. We cannot let anything debilitate us from doing our precious work, which can be done exclusively by us. If we get caught up in obsessions, we lose out on precious time; we lose out on true happiness; we lose out on life.
We learn an incredible lesson from the Torah’s perspective of matchmaking. I believe these words of wisdom alone, can enhance our quality of life, immeasurably.
Rabbi Yossi Bilus attended a lecture by Rav Pam, on Chayeh Sarah. Rabbi Bilus remembers a powerful lesson from that lecture, that made a lasting imprint on his life.
Often times, people date hoping to find their partner in life.  People frequently think they’ve graduated from “hoping to find,” to “it’s happening, I’ve found my match.” They already find themselves thinking about how many kids they are going to have and where they are going to live. And then a short time later, the other party walks away disinterested, leaving the partner devastated and doomed. There are those who never get over the hurt.
Avraham, our forefather instructed his trusted servant, Eliezer to find a wife for his son, Yitzchak. When Eliezer reached the well of the city where Avraham told him to go, he saw Rivka approaching. She did him tremendous kindness, giving him and his camels water. Eliezer was so sure he had found Yitzchak’s mate, that he showered her with jewelry. The mission seemed to be accomplished. But when Eliezer met Rivka’s family, he said something peculiar. “And now if you want to do kindness and are interested – tell me if not I will turn to the right or left”. In other words, if you’re interested, great, if not I will look elsewhere. Even after giving Rivka all of that jewelry, Eliezer was prepared to break off the process. We learn from here, that If it’s not working out, it’s not what G-d wants and no matter how perfect it seemed, we have to move on!!
My mother would always say to me when I was dating, “every pot has a cover”. Those were reassuring words. However, in order to feel that reassurance, we have to be at peace with ourselves. We have to have the right frame of mind, to make the great, big step. We also have to let go of the ghosts in our heads, of what it would have been like if the other party would have stayed. That was the past; we must look forward.
This is why we recite AL CHET SHEH CHATANU LECHA B’TIMTUM LEV-On the sins that we are committed through confusion of the heart.
Since when are we chastised for being confused? Isn’t that a little harsh? Many of us are confused. For goodness sake, we live in New York city!! with neon lights flashing all around us. Do we have to be chastised for that?
Rabbi Oelbaum says the answer lies in the Ten Commandment. The two tablets are shaped almost like a heart.
When we received the first tablets, the words were engraved in them symbolizing that everything found in the Ten Commandments is etched in each of our hearts. Our emotions are vital to our survival. The heart is pivotal in directing ourselves in the right direction. Therefore, it has to have clarity to the highest degree. It is for this reason the Torah was infused directly into our hearts.
However, after the sin of the golden calf, the passive, automatic connection to G-d was no longer. The heart entered a confused state as a result of our blunder. We had to start being more aggressive. We had to work to incorporate the Ten Commandments into our hearts ourselves, in order to see clearly and eradicate the confusion. In order to move forward, the Torah gives us guidance, so we shouldn’t fall off track into obsessing and time wasting.
When we don’t take that step of incorporating the Ten Commandment into our lives, our hearts remain confused and we are responsible for not taking the initiative.
For this reason, Eliezer, Avraham trusted servant was prepared to break away so easily. He ruled over his emotions and didn’t allow them to rule over him.
Good grief, Charlie Brown wake up!! Wake up and smell the coffee!! Good grief, we should wake up in time…. Be’ezrat Hashem.

Lying in order to get married, is it permissible?

This article was constructed with the help of either writings, lectures or shiurim of Rabbi’s  Baruch Dopelt, Yossi Bilius, Aron Tendler, Doniel Neustadt,  Eliyahu ben Chaim and Dr. Abba Goldman,  Miedel Weissman,  Erez Okchon

It’s not easy getting married: it’s not easy staying married. For that matter, it’s exceptionally not easy being single. What shall one do?  Interestingly, human nature is such that most gravitate towards finding a mate to wed. Subconsciously to find a mate and to do it legally, not just to live with someone is what people strive and feel the need. Having weak knees and having the feelings of being forced and dragged down in shackles to the altar is for the most part not true. That’s our western society sense of humor…HA- HA- HA. There is a built-in mechanism in all of us to get married. Our religion encourages matrimony and indicates that one elevates their status in the world. There is an element of maturity, responsibility that one takes upon themselves that G-d likes. In fact it is written in the holy books that G-d forgives one’s sins when they get married. How is that for an incentive!! They start a new, fresh clean slate.
 Interestingly, most people are more at peace with themselves when they tie the knot.  Does one ever wonder why we say “Shiduch” referring to finding a mate? The word “shiduch” is Aramaic for “peaceful” or “tranquil” (see Targum Shoftim 3:11), referring to the peacefulness which a woman senses when she finds her match and establishes her home (Ran, Shabbat 12a).  A man has a better concentration on spiritual matters when married. For this reason the Sages recommend that on one of the holiest days of the year, Rosh Hashana, the Chazzan should be married.
Others maintain that the word “shiduch” means “to bind or tie” together (Aruch).  One is only a half until he meets and binds with his shiduch.
It is a mitzvah to arrange a shiduch between a man and a woman for the object of matrimony even to arrange it on Shabbat, and if necessary, it is even permitted to discuss financial arrangements on Shabbat. This is unprecedented considering how stringent it is to keep the Shabbat.
  Considering the importance a shiduch might mean to one’s life, its human nature that one would do anything to get a mate that they think is most suitable. Competition is fierce.  Some might resort to enhance themselves in a very exaggerate way. One can argue “what’s a little white lie?”  It’s for constructive purposes…..Well, is it allowed?
This week’s Parsha is the only place in the Torah where a shiduch investigation is initiated and conducted.
Avraham summoned his servant and charged him with the mission of finding a suitable wife for his son Yitzhak. Avraham had his servant swear that he would not take a wife for Isaac from the local Canaanite women. Instead, he asked him to travel to Aram, his native land, and find a wife for Yitzhak.
The servant set out for his master’s homeland and evening time found him beside the city well. He prayed for success in his mission, and asked for a heavenly sign to confirm his choice of a girl for Isaac. He would ask a maiden for a drink of water, and the one who would answer: “Certainly, and I’ll also give your camels to drink as well,” would be the proper choice for Isaac. Immediately a young lady approached and in response to the servant’s request for a drink, she offered to give his camels to drink too. Upon questioning her, he discovered that she was Avraham’s great-niece, Rivka.
Interestingly, the servant is the one who is burdened to find a mate for his master’s son. It seems like there is no effort on Yitzchak’s part to hunt for a wife. Perhaps, this is as close as one gets to a mail order bride. It was different in our generations: we were subjugated to the long grueling and humiliating single events to find our Eshet Chayil.
As one examines the scriptures, one realizes that Eliezer alters the account of the story – as he tells over to Rivka’s father and brother of how he met their daughter. He changes the sequence of events telling the father and brother, Betuel and Lavan, that he gave the girl the jewelry – only after she disclosed her name. However, that was not so. He gave her the jewelry first – before he asked her name.
Our Sages were puzzled as to why the Torah devoted so much space to this single episode. “The conversation of the servants of Patriarchs is more pleasing before the Omnipresent than the Torah of the sons. For the section of Eliezer is repeated in the Torah, whereas many important principles of the Law were given only by hinting.” (Rashi 24:42).
In the Torah, words count for much. Something that is especially important is often repeated, such as the mitzvot of Shabbat and circumcision. Here, too, it is for us to discover what is so significant in this story.
Eliezer didn’t think Betuel and Lavan would appreciate if told about the miracle through prayer. As soon as he finished his prayers, it materialized. For the girl that he described to G-d actually appeared and performed the kindness in his presence. He knew without a doubt: G-d was sending what he asked. Therefore, he altered the truth. Evil people like Betuel and Lavan would dismiss his explanation. Eliezer rationalized they wouldn’t believe him, that he made up the whole thing, that he was some kind of “nut” and therefore spoil the shiduch if told the truth.
We learned two very important lessons from this incident.  Firstly, one almost always needs a miracle in the area of shiduchim. Much of shiduchim is illogical; much of shiduchim leaves people scratching their heads.  G-d is the ultimate signer of every shiduch and HE puts it together, no matter what and where, as HE sees fit, in the craziest circumstances, it will happen!!!
 Secondly, even more astonishing, the Torah gives leeway for altering the truth, ever so slightly, nevertheless, point be taken, for the sake of finishing the deal, for making the shiduch take place. For putting two people together the little white lie has to take place.
Once a Rabbi overhears his wife, who is on the phone in the kitchen, persuading a young man to go out again even though he didn’t think she was for him. A little while later she tells the girl, the date, “yes, I received a call from him and he’s crazy about you and can’t wait to see you again”.  The shadchan-matchmaker was afraid that if she knew he’s “pareve” about her, she will be discouraged and lose interest. Incredibly, this couple got married and has six kids.    
The million dollar question is to what extent one can lie? Is there a gauge of how truthful one can be?  What often happens when one is asked to give his opinion, of course in confidentiality, about a particular young man or young woman, is that people tend to speak when they should be quiet and hold back when they ought to speak up.
Interestingly, from the beginning of matchmaking, till this very day, it’s understood, that the parties are not telling the truth to a certain degree. The truth, for the most part has been slightly altered.  Should one always expect that a few years have been latched on or off the age disclosed for both a girl and a boy?
It is prohibited for either party in a prospective match to give false information or to withhold pertinent information about them. In certain cases, withholding or falsifying information could result in the invalidation of a marriage (22). Even a couple who has been married many years may be considered to be living in sin if pertinent information was withheld at the time of their marriage.
The Sages give some examples of information that may not be withheld in a prospective match [and which–if withheld–may invalidate a marriage]: A serious physical or mental illness (23), infertility (24),   and financial status (25), lack of religious observance (26), previous marital status (27), previous illicit relationships (28), conversion (29), and adoption (30).
One is not required to divulge a deficiency which most people do not consider to be an impediment, such as a minor illness (31), a physical weakness or a minor blemish in one’s lineage (32). Similarly, it is not required to divulge a transgression in the distant past for which the sinner has repented (33).
Since it is often difficult to gauge and judge minor drawback versus major deficiencies, a Rabbi must always be consulted.
An individual who is asked for [or is aware of (34)] information about a shiduch must divulge what he knows regarding a “major deficiency”, as detailed above. One who deliberately withholds such information: transgresses the prohibition of “lifnei eiver lo sitein michshol” (35) -“placing an object to stumble before the blind man”.
However, when does this rule apply?  When should the person being asked disclose the information? When should the couple mention the information?
Second date, fifth date, ninth date, when is it the right time to disclose before transgressing the prohibition of “lifnei eiver lo sitein michshol” (35).
There was a young man who was slightly handicapped; few of his fingers were paralyzed due to polio he contracted when he was a child. After, a number of dates, his deficiency not being noticed by the girl he was seeing, the young man consulted Rabbi Kanievsky as to when to tell the young lady.
 The reply was before the engagement. The Rabbi ruled the illness that the young man contracted as a child will not affect the future. Therefore, in this particular case, he had to tell the young lady before the engagement.
However, Dr. Goldman indicates that perhaps that’s a unique case. Many Rabbis are under the opinion that information should be told in the early part of dating before the couple is emotionally involved. It should be disclosed way before the engagement. It’s a tremendous responsibility.
Interestingly, a number of professional shadchanim interviewed for this article expressed how careful they are about stretching the truth (age, height, weight), more so than friends and family who volunteer to set up their loved ones out of the goodness of their heart. The professional Shadchanim are more careful of their reputation to be more accurate, for if they disappoint their client with false information they will not be called again and not be recommended to others.
Detrimental information about a shiduch may only be conveyed with the proper intention–for the benefit of one of the parties, not as revenge or in spite of any individual. Even then, the information may only be relayed when (36):
*The condition is serious;
*The condition has not been exaggerated;
*There is a reasonable chance that the information will be accepted and acted upon. If it is likely to be ignored, it is prohibited to be relayed.
One who is unsure if a particular point of information is a major deficiency or if the above conditions have been met should consult a Rav before divulging or withholding any information?
What should parents be looking for in their investigation? Before beginning the search, it is important to decide which values are important to your family and what criteria should be used in evaluating a potential shiduch.
After deciding what you are looking for in the categories of character, family, finances, and looks, evaluate your list in relation to your child. Are you being realistic in your search? Does your child deserve the potential prince or princess that you imagine? Are you underselling your child and limiting his or her choices? Will the son or daughter-in-law you imagine make your child happy? Do you really know better than your children do: who and what they need in a spouse? The Rav of Manchester, Harav Segall Zt’l, once mentioned that after all is said and done, a parent has the obligation to find a shiduch that will make his child happy. It is therefore important to include your son or daughter in the process. Find out who their fantasy spouse is and challenge them to be more realistic and honest. It is a parent’s responsibility to lower or raise a child’s expectations.
Midel Weismann a professional shadchan and a good friend relates an incident when he attended a sheva brachot of a friend’s son.
During the meal of the sheva brachot: the father of the Kalah rises up to speak and discloses the reason why he picked this young man to be his son in-law.  With pride he begins “my daughter had a lot of suiters; however, Moshe struck me to be one with exceptional fine character. I was in B’nai B’rak waiting for a hitch to Tveria, when someone, Moshe, pulls over and after disclosing where I desired to go, he mentioned he’s going in that direction. During the ride I asked what Yeshiva he is learning at and how he likes his Rebbeyim and teachers. I must tell you throughout the two hour journey, which entailed many traffic jams and sudden stops, Moshe did not beep the horn once. It was a pleasure to see such a relaxed individual. I have to compliment his parents and Rebbeyim for instilling in him the trait of tolerance. He was very calm; he never showed any annoyance at the often tumultuous ride. Even when we were about to enter Tveria where there was a Bedouin on a camel who planted himself on the road in front of us, ones immediate reaction is to honk the horn and wave your hands to move off the road. Moshe never even made the motion to hit the steering wheel”.
 “When I left the car I made sure to get as much information so I can inquire and have the shiduch take place with my daughter. Moshe I am proud that you are my son-in-law”
T here was a moment of silence where then Moshe burst laughing. Now he rises and tells the guests and his new father-in-law “the horn of the car was dead. The reason I was in B’nai B’rak that day was to have it fixed. However, the Mechanic was not available and that’s when I met you”.
Whether it be a horn, a car, a camel, a lie here and a lie there, this one a few years older, a few pound heavier if it is meant to be and G-d wants it done it will happen. We, though, have to make a refined sensitive effort to help create a potential family.
One should keep in mind when confronted with a question of a young man, woman, and their families, think through your response carefully. Make sure the information you give is accurate. Don’t exaggerate; one should transmit the information with the express purpose of aiding a shiduch. One should ensure that the information is transmitted in the least harmful way possible. One should weigh the amount of harm your information is liable to cause against its benefit.

A Life and Death Lesson about dating

I met my soulmate at the well

This article was constructed with the help of either writings, lectures or shiurim of Rabbi’s Yissachar frand, Berel Wein, Yossi Biliu
It’s strange how we see the “well” in the background of many of the momentous story lines in the Torah. However, in this week’s parsha it takes center stage, a starring role as one of the main topics of the sedr’a.

 Many of our leaders expressed their appreciation of G-D’s kindness through songs. We have the song of the sea, when Moshe broke out in song after being redeemed from Egypt while his sister Miriam led the singing for the women. Then there was the Prophetess Devorah and King David who were exemplary in their ability to raise their voices with praises to the one above.

This week’s Torah portion, Parshat Chukat, provides an example of an entirely different kind of a voice: not the voice of one person, but the voice of an entire group, indeed of an entire nation. It is the Song of the Well, of the Be’er.

It seems like the song is a ceremonial correlation of all of the mentions of the be’er in the Torah. One may wonder the mystique of “the well” and why it is cited in certain situation throughout the Torah.

The most frequent association of the “well” is it being in the background of finding a mate. Whether it was Eliezer, the servant of Avraham, looking for a wife for Yitzchak, Yaakov meeting Rachel, or Moshe finding Tziporah, all revolved around the shadow of the be’er. Perhaps that was the hot spot, the social gathering where one looks for his other half. The Grossingers of yesteryear (how many remember or would like to forget that meeting place). Perhaps humans haven’t changed much through time. It seems all mothers worry and rebuke their children saying “you’re getting old, all your friends are married, time to go to the well. Get a bucket and pretend you’re there for the water.”

There are many questions to be asked on many of the incidences. Let’s explore one seemingly strange story line when Yaakov meets Rachel, his future wife.  Upon Yaakov’s arrival in Paddan Aram [Bereshis 29: 1-11], the Torah relates the incident of when Yaakov gave water to the sheep from the well. A large boulder sat atop a certain well from which all the flocks were given to drink. The rock could not be moved until all the shepherds gathered to collectively remove it from the well and then collectively replace it. When Yaakov arrived, the rock was still covering the well, so he removed it himself. Rashi notes that Yaakov removed the rock as easily as one would remove a cork from a bottle; it was that easy.

When we learned this story in grade school, we all pictured a dramatic scene of a macho, muscle-bound Yaakov demonstrating awesome power and impressing Rachel with his good looks and great strength. Then we imagined a scene right out of a Hollywood script: Rachel falls madly in love with Yaakov, they get married and live happily ever after.

However, that picture of events is far from accurate. Does it not seem strange that all these shepherds, who were going through this routine, day after day, year after year, did not have the strength to remove the rock but Yaakov- the Yeshiva student from the Yeshiva of Shem V’Ever, who had (according to the Medrash) spent the last 14 years learning day and night, did have the strength? Yaakov, in fact, probably looked more like the stereotypical pale, emaciated Yeshiva weakling than like a Hollywood he-man. How was it that he could move the rock and all the rugged shepherds could not?

It is interesting to note that the Torah lavishes a great deal of space and detail to this incident at the well while the Torah tells us nothing about the fourteen years of Yaakov’s life that passed between his leaving home and arriving at the house of Lavan.

Many men have tried to lift the stone that hides these sweet waters, but only Yaakov Avinu succeeded in revealing its undiscovered depths. Similarly, Moshe, our leader, who took us out of Egypt, was the hero of the day winning the hand in marriage of one of the damsels in distress, Tziporah. He too was involved with the “well”, however in his case, the nasty shepherds would always harass the water drawers.

The Be’er is a source of blessing, an ever flowing spring of G-d’s beneficent bounty. This Be’er followed Bnai Yisrael as they escaped from Egypt, and continues traveling with them in the desert.

What is so special about the well? What can we learn from the story line of Yaakov and Rachel at the well?

Perhaps the answer lies where the water lies, underneath the ground in the Be’er. The subject matter, which is the water in this case, is not seen; it is concealed. One only sees the shell of the well.


This theme of concealment is found in the very name of the heroine of Purim. “Esther” derives from the root word “hester” which in Hebrew means “hidden.” In the Torah (Dt. 31:18), G-d says to Israel: “I will surely hide (hastir astir) My face from you.” The sages see this Hebrew phrase as a subtle suggestion of the hiddenness of G-d during the time of Esther.

Take Esther herself. No one except Mordecai knows who she really is. Even King Achashveros is kept in the dark. “Ein Esther magedet moledetah” says the Megillah in 2:20. “Esther did not reveal her origins.” This is the theme of the day: nothing is revealed.

Note also the lineage of the protagonists of the Purim story. It is the lineage of hiddenness. Mordechai and Esther are descendants of Rachel Imenu. Rachel, the mother of Yosef and the wife of Yaakov, the muscle bound yeshiva boy, is the very essence of hiddenness and concealment. When her sister Leah is substituted for her in marriage to Yaakov, why does Rachel not cry out and protest that an injustice is being done? Because to do so would have humiliated her sister. Rachel knows how to conceal things, including her bitter disappointment.

The well conceals the very essence of life. This is the Torah’s message! A bracha’s inception is best through concealment and modesty. No one has to know! No one sees the water. This is what the Torah is trying to convey through the be’er. The most important aspect of life is conceived in the bedroom in the dark, under the covers, between husband and wife.

Interestingly Yaakov and for that matter Moshe overcame symbolically, the rock and the nasty shepherds. The stone sits perched atop the well, the many sins which keep us entrenched in this long and bitter exile.  The key to understanding this whole chapter is a stanza which we recite in the Prayer for Rain (recited on Shemini Atzeret). The poet there uses the language “He concentrated his heart and then rolled off the stone” (yichad lev, vaYagel Even). In other words, Yaakov did not use his biceps or his upper body strength to move the boulder. Yaakov used concentration of the heart. All that he learned from his parents, the Yeshiva, the good values, gave him the strength to move away the negativity and draw the sweet concealed waters that are needed to live life the way G-d intended us to live.

In the song the individual voice is concealed is drowned out by the chorus of many. For discretion is vital. If one wants to seek the water of life-mayim chaim, which includes finding a mate, having children etc., it should be performed quietly. Every action one does should be conducted without the fanfare. Be’ezrat Hashem may we all draw the sweet waters from the well of life.



Spring up, O well – sing to it –
The well which the chieftains dug,
Which the nobles of the people started
With the scepter, and with their own staffs.
And from the wilderness to Mattanah,
and from Mattanah to Nahaliel,
and from Nahaliel to Bamoth… (Numbers 21:16-19)