Dear Readers,

Recently I was talking with a teenager. In our conversation, she mentioned that she didn’t really view herself as “good.” I think on some level, many of us feel that way—we don’t think of ourselves as being such great people. But if we can’t envision our intrinsic goodness, then what’s the point of even trying to improve?

As we dig into our psyches and analyze our actions or motivation, we realize things about ourselves that we don’t like and that might even muddy our self-perception that our core is wholly good. We may discover that what drives us is not altruistic, and, instead, seems self-serving and narcissistic.

But we need to remember that beyond our emotions and desires, beyond our experiences and achievements lies our pure, Divine core. This is the part of us that is essentially good, where no deed or act can ever muddy. This is our selfless core that wants to bring goodness into our world.

It is written, “‘For you (the people of Israel) shall be a desirable land,’ says G‑d” (Malachi 3:12). The Baal Shem Tov explained that just as the greatest explorers won’t uncover the limits of the valuable resources placed within the earth, we will never discover the limits of the great treasures that lie buried within our inner selves—G‑d’s “desirable land.”

This week’s parshah speaks of Isaac, who was the longest-living Patriarch; he lived 180 years, compared to Abraham’s 175 and Jacob’s 147. What did Isaac do for much of his long life? Isaac was a well-digger. He reopened the wells originally dug by Abraham, dug several wells of his own, named them and struggled to retain control over them.

While the Torah is describing actual wells that Isaac dug, metaphorically it also details his service of digging deep within himself, refining his character to reach greatness.

Here are three things we can learn from a well about ourselves:

1) Dig hard and deep.

The well-digger labors really hard and deep to get the purest water. Similarly, effort is required in our lives. The best things in life need to be cultivated and worked on. The more you exert yourself to refine your character and actions, the more you will become in tune with your soul.

B) Digging a well just exposes the water that is already there.

The well-digger knows that if he burrows far enough, eventually he’ll hit water. Your perfect, Divine soul is within you, but you need to put forth effort to get in tune with it, to access and expose its powers.

C) Well water cannot be destroyed, but we can stuff it up or obstruct its flow.

Our pristine soul is within us, an essential part of us, but we can block its voice with our own choices. Each of us has the freedom to choose how to lead our lives.

Wishing you a wonderful week of deep digging to expose your beautiful soul!

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW