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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Week 25 (Book 3): Hezron and Sweetening Bitter Judgments


SONG OF THE SEA: The people complained against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord instructed him concerning a piece of wood, which he cast into the water, and the water became sweet. There He gave them a statute and an ordinance, and there He tested them.

HAFTARAH: Zebulun is a people that jeopardized their lives to die, as did Naphtali, upon the high places of the field.

TALMUD SOTAH - Daf 25 - Cancelling warnings

GENERATIONS FROM ADAM TO THE LAST KING OF JUDAH: Hezron

JOURNEYS IN THE DESERT: They journeyed from Tarah and camped in Mithkah.

Week 25 is the last week of Adar. The verses for this week speak of how Moshe sweetens the bitter waters of Marah.  Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk, whose yahrzeit is this week, teaches that this is the main service of the tzadik: to sweeten and to cancel the bitter decrees against the Jewish people. (See Mithka, levitical city for this week)

This week, the Haftorah’s verses regarding the reactions of each tribe come to a close, culminating with Zebulun, and, last but not least, Naphtali itself. These tribes completely incorporate the spirit of self-sacrifice required from a sheliach. (See Week 25, Book 1, regarding the frog) They are literally willing to give up their lives for the cause. Naphtali, as we know, represents the month of Adar. Zebulun, in its partnership with Issachar, also illustrates the other main theme of the month of Adar, which is duality. 1

Daf Kaf Heh (Folio 25) of Sotah discusses what do in cases of women that overall start behaving immodestly. It also discusses whether or not a husband can cancel a warning. The conclusion is that he can. This is the same theme as above, representing the avodah, the service of the tzadik, to use self-sacrifice in order to cancel decrees against the Jewish people, even when they are not behaving appropriately.

Hezron, son of Perez, is the father of Caleb. Hezron comes from the word chatzer, which means courtyard, or enclosure. A chatzer is a term often discussed in halachah, particularly in the tractate of Eruvim. There, the discussion is about two neighbors that share a common courtyard. In order to be able to carry on the courtyard, the two neighbors need to set up an eruv chatzeirot.[1] This way, both neighbors formally own the area together, and it is no longer considered a separate domain for either party. Interestingly, the word Eruv comes from the same root as Arev, which means sweet. When Jews come together, and the duality serves a positive function, there is sweetness. This is also one of the themes of the month. Chatzer is also a term connected to the courtyard of the Temple. (See Week 25, Book 2, regarding how this week is connected to Jerusalem).

In the twenty-fifth week, the Jews journey from Tarah and camp in Mithkah. Mithkah somes from the word matok, which also literally means sweet. The personal journey is to internalize the concept of spiritually elevating our environment through “holy foolish” behavior, and now focus on sweetening any bitterness we may experience personally or as a people.





[1] http://www.dailyhalacha.com/Print.asp?ClipID=1079
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