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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Week 16 (Book 3): Overcoming Setbacks


SONG OF THE SEA: Then the chieftains of Edom were startled; [as for] the powerful men of Moab, trembling seized them;

HAFTARAH:
Praise! Praise! Utter a song.
Arise Barak, and capture your captives, son of Abinoam.

TALMUD SOTAH: Daf 16 - Soil in the Sotah’s Water

GENERATIONS FROM ADAM TO THE LAST KING OF JUDAH: Reu

JOURNEY IN THE DESERT: They journeyed from Rithmah and camped in Rimmon Perez.

On Week 16, the third week of Teveth, the verses of the Song of the Sea continue theme of being startled and trembling. As mentioned in the previous week, at the time of the siege of Jerusalem, the Jewish people were the ones to shudder.

The Haftorah’s verses also repeat the previous theme of the Divine spirit leaving Devorah because of her praising herself. The second part, related to Barak “capturing  your captives,” may also be a reference to the captivity of Jerusalem itself, as well as its citizens after the city was conquered and the Temple destroyed.

Daf Tet Zayin (Folio 16) of Sotah is continues the explanation of what the Sotah offering entailed, focusing primarily on the soil placed in the water to be drunk by the Sotah. This Daf also contains many  references to the law of the Metzorah. This also appears connected to themes of the previous week, and this month as a whole: exile and lack of proper food and drink.

Reu, son of Peleg, was born in the aftermath of the world’s population being split and spread into different lands. However, as opposed to his father’s name, which means separation, Reu’s name is related to the Hebrew words for shepherd and friend. Therefore, the name appears to symbolize the ability of to regroup and thrive once more after a period of exile and turmoil as was the aftermath of the Tower of Babel, as well as the Babylonian exile.


In the sixteenth week, the Jews journey from Rithmah and camp in Rimmon Perez.  Rimmon Perez means a “bursting” pomegranite. The pomegranite, with its many seeds, is a symbol for being fruitful and fulfilling mitzvoth. The personal journey is to to internalize the concept of avoiding slander and the exile that comes with it, and to now focus on regrouping and going back to being productive.
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