13 Tamuz 5779 / Tuesday, July 16, 2019 | Torah Reading: Pinchas
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Meeting at the Well    

Meeting at the Well

Our matriarchs found their soulmates at the well. Rivka, already past 40, decided that if it worked for them, it could work for her, so she searched for the holiest well…


I peered into the circular opening.  The sign on a tilted metal stick above it caught my eye.  “The well of trust”, right outside the steps to Ma'arat HaMachpela, the Cave of Machpela in Hebron, where our forefathers and mothers are buried.  It fascinated me from the first time I saw the small green sign with white Hebrew letters, bordered by roses and other flowers.  True, the corrugated metal circumference surrounding the empty hole below the sign didn’t look like much, but it was right outside one of the holiest places on earth.  Surely there were secrets that I didn’t yet understand.


Over the ensuing years, every time I would visit Israel and Ma'arat HaMachpela I would look at this sign and the hole. I imagined that this was my own well of trust, and it would encourage me to believe that Hashem was guiding my life, even if it felt like nothing was happening and I was going nowhere: I was still unmarried, still hadn’t made Aliya, and nothing was moving in any other area of my life.


During this time, I read the book It’s All in Your Mind by Sara Yosef, and practiced imagining myself in a beautiful white gown, dancing at my own wedding in Eretz Yisrael.  Baruch Hashem for a good imagination!  I tried to fill my mind with positive thoughts and hopes for the future.


Meanwhile, I had a very naïve idea.  Perhaps also a little desperate, but I had long before turned 40 and time wasn’t standing still.  (Please note: I am not recommending anyone to try this.)  I reflected on my name, Rivka Rachel, and the fact that both of our matriarchs Rivka and Rachel found their bashert at a well.  I thought some more and appreciated that those wells were in the Middle East, even if not in Eretz Hakodesh.  Certainly not in the United States.  While I was not so adventurous as to search for the original wells of Yaakov and Eliezer the servant of Avraham in Padan Aram (current day Syria), perhaps I could find a well in Israel?  Certainly many more Jews there…  Of course, the well of trust at Ma'arat HaMachpela, where Rivka Imenu herself was buried!



That is how I decided to go to Hevron during Chol Hamoed Pesach, when many Jews visit and the entire place is open for Jewish prayer and song.  I would sit on the bench near the well, pray and trust that Hashem would bring my bashert.  And that is what I did.


It didn’t happen that day.  But something else did.


Only in retrospect did I realize that what I imagined and hoped for, meeting a shidduch at the well, had actually taken place - completely unplanned, and not at all in the manner I expected.  Only after we married two months later, did it dawn on me that when I sat by the well and prayed to meet my zivug at Ma’arat HaMachpela, I had in fact already met him not far away a few days earlier.  At the time I did not realize that this was my future husband.  And if I had not gone to pray by the well, would I ever have known??


But this amazing personal Divine intervention, hashgacha pratit, is its own story for another time.


The best part?  As my Hebrew improved, I became aware that the Hebrew letters on the green sign spelled not 'be'er bitachon', well of trust, but 'bor bitachon', a security pit, found in public places throughout Israel… ‘vav’ instead of ‘alef’; a single letter, but a world of difference.


Yesterday, I accompanied two friends to Ma'arat HaMachpela, one a Chassidic rebbetzin who was making her first visit.  I told them my story of hoping to find a shidduch at the well, and we laughed in the warm sunshine.  When I remember those lonely past years of failed shidduchim, standing at the Gush Etzion junction, in the bone-chilling rain and cold of early winter mornings waiting for the first bus to Hevron, my heart fills with gratitude to the Creator of the World, for seeing the desires of my heart and fulfilling them beyond my imagination.


With time I have begun to understand some secrets of this miraculous well of trust:


First, Hashem is so great.  He is not the least constrained by my limited Hebrew, or by my naivety.  (Oy, what trouble I'd be in…!)


Second, our thoughts are so much more powerful than we realize.  


Third, Hashem knows how to take our thoughts and desires to lead us on the way we want to go, far better than we could ever dream.


This awareness gives me such comfort in times of distress and trouble, to recognize that, despite tough moments along the way, Hashem has guided my life and that of others so beautifully until now, and He surely has many more good things in store for us.

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Yehudit8/18/2017 11:02:17 AM

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