This week’s Torah reading focuses on our Patriarch Isaac, describing in detail the wells which he dug. Now the Bible does not tell us everything our Patriarchs did. Indeed, Isaac’s 180 years of life are described in a few chapters. Thus when it does tell that our Patriarchs performed a particular activity, we have to understand that it was not merely a simple, material act, but on the contrary, contained spiritual significance.

Digging a well involves removing the layers of earth and uncovering the source of life-giving water that is found in that place. In the analogue, this refers to the efforts to penetrate one’s G‑dly core and activate it as a source of inner strength.

Each of us has a soul which is “an actual part of G‑d” and every entity in the world is maintained by a G‑dly spark. Isaac’s thrust in Divine service involved penetrating through to these inner potentials, bringing them to the surface, and using them to initiate positive change.

On this basis, we can understand why Isaac wanted to give his blessings to Esau, rather than to Jacob. Isaac knew who Esau was; he wasn’t fooled that easily, but Isaac was “digging wells.”

As a father, he was involved in an ongoing endeavor to enable Esau to fulfill his spiritual potential. He knew that to get results in education, you have to invest and he thought that granting these blessings to Esau would help Esau realize who he really was.

Isaac, however, erred. He didn’t appreciate that the blessings were destined for Jacob. Ultimately the descendants of Esau, the brother who is deeply involved in the material dimensions of worldly existence, will manifest their spiritual potential. But Esau will not do it on his own. Esau’s refinement will come because of the arduous labor of Jacob’s descendants who dedicate themselves to teaching spiritual truth and therefore, it is Jacob who deserved Isaac’s blessings.