Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

“And he made the camels kneel outside the city next to the well toward evening.” (24:11)

Download PDF

This is the same time of day as the Torah mentions later (24:63), when Yitzchak looks up and discovers his future wife after reciting his prayer. This is the time which best suited Yitzchak’s personality and destiny. His father, Abraham, rose like a star in the firmament of humanity, making the world resplendent with his awesome love of Hashem and his fellow man. He was like the radiance of dawn. It was, therefore, he who instituted the prayer of Shacharis. Yitzchak, however, foresaw his fortunes waning in contrast to the glorious rise of his father. His life, missing the dazzling brightness of the rising sun, resembled the close of day, characterized by shadows of quickly approaching darkness. Yitzchak’s time was twilight, a time of ambiguity and natural harshness. At the end of the day, Yitzchak chose to address his Creator in prayer and give recount of his actions. Hence, his is the prayer of Minchah.


Yitzchak’s character was also different from his father’s. Avraham’s spirit overflowed with feeling of love and affection. In Yitzchak, these emotions were subordinated to the rigorous discipline of obedience to Hashem. The bonds which tied Yitzchak to the altar of the Akeidah symbolized his submission to Hashem with absolute dedication. Abraham’s early morning devotion yielded to harsh discipline in Yitzchak, which asserted itself in the waning hours of the day. Yitzchak’s destiny, as well, as his sense of self was bound to the evening twilight. It was at this time of day that Eliezer made his way to the well of water where he met Yitzchak’s future wife. Water is the element of tenderness, the symbol of peaceful elements with the power to temper the harsh forces of nature. The water represents Rivkah’s attribute of overflowing chesed (kindness). The Zohar Ha’kadosh states that it is through the blending of this middah of gentleness with the severe rigor of Yitzchak’s personality that Eliezer anticipated perfect harmony to be created by the couple’s union.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

You have Successfully Subscribed!