Dvar for Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9)
While living in Gerar, Yitzchak (Isaac) reopens the wells dug up by his father Avraham and digs a few of his own. The passuk records that one well “was named ‘shiva,’ and that is why the city is named Be’er Sheva until today” (26:33). Why does the Torah claim that Yitzchak named it Be’er Sheva when Avraham named it (21:31)?
The Sforno and other commentaries explain that while Avraham named the place to commemorate his treaty with Avimelech, Yitzchak rededicated that name and based it on the number of wells. While the concept of rededication makes sense, why does our Passuk add the fact that its name is Be’er Sheva “until today”? One explanation could be that basing a name on something tangible (wells vs. a treaty) has a more enduring and permanent effect. Another possibility is that continuing the work of those before you has the capacity to perpetuate that work eternally. In these turbulent and uncertain times, it is essential to focus on continuity and consistency in all our efforts to build a better future.