Parshas Toldos

“And it was on that day that Yitzchak’s servants came and told him concerning the well that they had dug and said to him ‘We found water.’ ” (Bereishis 26:32)

This was not the first well that Yitzchak dug. He dug others and did not find water. Then he dug another and the people of Gerar disputed its ownership. But he kept on digging wells until this well unearthed water for him. (Chofetz Chaim al HaTorah)

Yesterday I desperately needed an early night. Early to bed… happy to rise. Wasn’t that how the adage went? That’s definitely what happened in my life.

“Supper’s ready!” I called out cheerfully. “Who wants to be the first to hop into the tub after eating?”

A mother plans but kids demand. Suddenly everyone had a million very important things that had to get done right then. Forgotten homework… an important phone call to a friend… a book that he must finish… laundry she needs for tomorrow.

And the evening ended as it always does. Too late too tired. As I dragged my weary self to bed I watched the familiar figure of my Failure Friend lurking in the background.

Face up to it. That’s just who you are. Her message mocked me. You just can’t get your act together. You’re not organized you wait till the last minute and your kids are just like you! Give it up! Tomorrow morning is going to be more of the same. Grouchy kids grumpy you and another gorgeous day wasted as usual.

And the worst part was it was all true. As usual.

This teaches us that if a person begins a project he should never abandon it to despair and failure. (ibid.)

We each have our own personal story of wells. We hew them out of our lives with our bare hands and clenched teeth. Wells of wishes and requests. Wells of desires and goals. We toil and dig carry and lift hoping in the end we’ll have clear refreshing water.

But instead of water there are quarrels. Instead of a refreshing spring there is drought. We work but others lay claim to our wells leaving us with parched tongues and downcast eyes. We’re left with failure.

So too with all material and spiritual matters — both in business and in Torah learning. If someone doesn’t succeed in his learning at the outset he shouldn’t leave the Torah for the honor will come in the end. And if he didn’t understand at first he’ll find the true understanding in the end. (ibid.)

The Torah doesn’t waste words. Yet it discusses this incident of Yitzchak’s wells with many words and pesukim. It’s teaching a message to each of us.

This message is for all those who wonder how much they should stubbornly invest in that same disappointing well how much they should fight over it demand what’s theirs. The Torah tells the story of Yitzchak for these people. Leave the well of quarrel; seek out a new well one that’s not filled with the stones of warring and screaming.

It’s for those of grim faces and bleak looks by the dried-up wells waiting and hoping that perhaps they’ll find water. Make peace with the drought in your life. The way of our forefathers is not to despair and not to fight but to get up and dig another well. Maybe there you’ll find water.

We are the children of Yitzchak Avinu so we’ll keep finding new wells to dig. We’ll think of another idea or method to secure an early bedtime to ensure cheerful mornings. Hashem is the source of all water and He has unlimited methods of bringing brachah.

Tonight I am going to try again. Early to bed happy to rise. And perhaps tonight I will succeed.

So to you my Failure Friend I will say goodbye and be well.