Toldot and Good Conservation Practice

In the Parashah of Toldot we come across the first mention crops being planted. At the beginning of the Torah, in Bereishit, Adam and Eve were foragers who ate whatever they found in the garden of Eden. Later on we read about Abraham and his flocks of livestock. His son Isaac, in Toldot, planted crops, was very successful at doing so, sold the excess to buy livestock and became rich. However, despite his riches, and perhaps because of his earlier experience of famine, he practiced what would be considered even today as high standards of conservation. His father Abraham had dug wells to ensure good and reliable water supply. Unfortunately after his death the Philistines covered over these wells and rendered them unusable. Isaac not only took the effort to restore these well and make them function once more but he took a further step of digging more wells. Thus in modern conservation parlance he not only restored but also improved, thus ensuring that adequate resources we available for future. He didn’t just manage the land to provide enough for himself and family, but also prepared for the future and prepared to the leave the land and in its resources in a better state than before his time.

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