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Friday, June 6, 2014

Week 36 (Book 4b): Chag (Festival)


SONG OF SONGS: 12. Come, my beloved, let us go out to the field, let us lodge in the villages.
 
70 SOULS THAT DESCENDED TO EGYPT: Haggi and Bela
 
TALMUD SHEVUOTH: Daf 36 – a Gift
 
BOOK OF JEREMIAH: Chapter 36

 

Week 36 in the Jewish calendar is the week of Shavuot. The verse of Shir HaShirim of this week talks of going to the field, lodging in the villages. The field and the villages appear to be references to Eisav, who was a man of the field. Rashi comments that Kefarim (villages) should be read (Kofrim) disbelievers. At the time of the giving of the Torah, Hashem offered it to the other nations, including Yishmael and Eisav, but they rejected it.

 

Shavuot is also specifically connected to the field, because it is also known as Chag HaKatzir (the Harvest Festival) and Chag HaBikkurim (the Festival fo the First Fruits).

           

Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the thirty-sixth mentioned is Haggi. This week is also connected with Bela, son of Benjamin. Haggi appears to come from the the Chag, festival. Chagi means my festival, or Chag-Yud, the festival of G-d. The term Chag is used in the context of all festivals, but especially the ones that involve pilgrimage to Jerusalem, such as Shavuot, Pessach and Sukkot.

 

Bela means “swallowed up” – a reference to how Joseph disappeared from Benjamin when he was still a child. Benjamin’s naming his sons after Joseph is evidence of the brotherly love that existed (and still exists) among the Jewish people – a key component in our meriting to receive the Torah.

Daf Lamed Vav (Folio 36) of Shvuot continues to discuss the wording of an oath, and the holy names of G-d. It also begins a new chapter regarding the oath of a “pikadon,” a gift or deposit. Again, the use of the names of Hashem appear related to the the revelation of Hashem and the giving of the Torah on Shavuot. The Torah was also the quintessential gift, given to the Jewish people at Sinai.

 

Chapter 36 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. It depicts the writing of a scroll (which is in fact the Book of Lamentations), which Jeremiah spoke and Baruch ben Neriah wrote down. When the scroll reached the king of Judah and it was read to him, he destroyed it, throwing it into the fire. A second scroll was then written, with additional words. There’s really a very strong parallel here with the giving of the Torah.

 

4. And Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah, and Baruch wrote from Jeremiah's mouth all the words of the Lord that He had spoken to him, on a roll of a book. 

 

5. And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying: I am imprisoned; I cannot enter the House of the Lord.

   

6. And you shall come and read in the roll that you have written from my mouth, the words of the Lord, in the ears of the people in the House of the Lord on a fastday, and also in the ears of all of Judah who come from their cities, you shall read them.

 

(...)

  

23. And it came to pass, when Jehudi read three or four verses, he rent it with a scribe's razor, and cast [it] onto the fire which was on the brazier until the entire roll was consumed on the fire that was on the brazier. 

 

24. And the king and all his servants who heard all these words were neither frightened nor did they rend their garments. 

 

25. And also Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had entreated the king not to burn the roll, but he heeded them not.

 

(...)

 

32. And Jeremiah took another roll and gave it to Baruch the son of Neriah the scribe, and he wrote on it from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book that Jehoiakim the king of Judah burnt with fire, and there were yet added to them many words like those.

 
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