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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Week 30 (Book 3): Destruction and Conquest


BESHALACH: 7. And [in the] morning, you shall see the glory of the Lord when He hears your complaints against the Lord but [of] what [significance] are we, that you make [the people] complain against us? 8. And Moses said, When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and bread in the morning [with which] to become sated, when the Lord hears your complaints, which you are making [the people] complain against Him, but [of] what [significance] are we? Not against us are your complaints, but against the Lord.

HAFTORAH: tread down, O my soul, (their) strength. Then were pounded the heels of the horses

TALMUD SOTAH: Daf 30 - Children, fetuses, and the Song of the Sea

GENERATIONS FROM ADAM TO THE LAST KING OF JUDAH: Boaz

JOURNEYS IN THE DESERT: They journeyed from Hor hagidgad and camped in Jotbathah.

Week 30 is the week of Yom HaShoah, and the yahrzeit of Yehoshuah. The Torah portion section for this week speaks of how G-d heard the complaints of the Jewish people, and how Moshe saw himself and Aharon as nothing, Nachnu Mah. Yehoshuah shared this humble character trait of Moshe. The suffering the Jewish people underwent during the Holocaust is indescribable. Yet, we must always remember that G-d hears our complaints.

The Haftorah’s verses for this week speak of the Devorah’s soul treading down, “their” strength, and the pounding of horses. This could refer to Jewish suffering, such as the horrors of the Holocaust, and how the souls and the strength of the Jewish people treaded down to such horror. Yet, as Rashi explains, the simple meaning is that we treaded with our feet over the strength of our enemies, very much like Joshua put his feet on the neck of the Canaanite kings. The horse is a symbol of strength, the Perek Shirah animal of week 31 in Book 1. The pounding of the horses is reminiscent of how the “horse and its rider” were thrown into the sea, during the splitting of the sea in Nissan.

Daf Lamed (Folio 30) of Sotah discusses further certain purity laws regarding terumah and sacrifices. The daf ends by discussing in greater detail how it was that the Song of the Sea took place, how it was sung, and how even babies and unborn fetuses sung as well. What makes the Holocaust so tragic that it was a disaster that reached even infants, babies, and unborn fetuses. Again, we end the month of Nissan returning to the theme of the splitting of the sea.

Boaz, the son of Salmah, was the husband of Ruth. He also was the leader of the Jewish people at the time. Boaz contains the Hebrew word oz, which means strength, perhaps another reference to the strength of Yehoshua as well, and the salvation that came to Ruth after she had witnessed so much death and destruction in her life.


In the thirtieth week, the Jews journey from Hor hagidgad and camp in Jotbathah. Jotbathah means calm, peace and tranquility. The personal journey for this week is to internalize the concept of opening up our hearts to the gift of the mannah, the gift of emunah, and now focus on attaining the peace and tranquility that come with complete faith. Also, this is perhaps a reference to the relative tranquility we now experience as we return to our homeland, celebrated on Yom Ha’Atzmaut, in the coming week.
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