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Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 1 (Book 3): Moshe and Deborah, Judgement and Adam, Ramses and Being G-d's Firstborn

Week 1 - Adam: Being Connected to Hashem and All Mankind

SONG OF THE SEA: Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and they spoke, saying, I will sing to the Lord, for very exalted is He;

HAFTORAH: Now Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying.

SOTAH: 11. The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 12. Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: Should any man's wife go astray and deal treacherously with him … [The Kohen] shall make her drink the water, and it shall be that, if she had been defiled and was unfaithful to her husband, the curse bearing waters shall enter her to become bitter, and her belly will swell, and her thigh will rupture. The woman will be a curse among her people. 28. But if the woman had not become defiled and she is clean, she shall be exempted and bear seed. (Bamdibar, 6)

GENERATIONS FROM ADAM TO THE LAST KING OF JUDAH: Adam

JOURNEYS IN THE DESERT: They journeyed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day following the Passover sacrifice, the children of Israel left triumphantly before the eyes of all the Egyptians.   And the Egyptians were busy burying because the Lord had struck down their firstborn and had wrought vengeance against their deities.  And the Egyptians were busy burying: occupied with their mourning. (Bamidbar, 33:1-48)

The first week of the Jewish calendar is the week of Rosh Hashanah.  The verses of the the Song of the Sea and Haftorah are about the leaders of the Jewish people at that time singing in unison. Rosh Hashanah is about connecting with the “head” of the people.

The verse which is the basis of Tractate Sotah is ultimately about judgment. The woman is judged through water.

Adam, the first man, represents all of mankind and is its spiritual and physical source. The same is true for Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is also the day of the creation of Adam.

The first location the Jews find themselves in is Ramses. The personal journey during these days is to fully internalize the concept that we are Hashem’s firstborn, and focus on the concept that Hashem is the Creator. It is to liberate ourselves from Egypt, and of the idea that there can be any god other than Hashem. (“Ramses” means the god of the sun created him/it). 

An important lesson we learn from Adam in our approach to prayer and Divine service is to focus also on the big picture. To pray not just for ourselves, but for all of mankind, especially those that need the most Divine assistance at the time. It is not by chance that our prayers are all in the plural. We are all connected, in more ways than we think.

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