Friday, June 13, 2014

Week 37 (Book 4b): First Fruits


SONG OF SONGS: 13. Let us arise early to the vineyards; let us see whether the vine has blossomed, the tiny grapes have developed, the pomegranates have lost their flowers; there I will give you my love.


70 SOULS THAT DESCENDED TO EGYPT: Shuni and Becher


TALMUD SHEVUOTH: Daf 36 – a Gift


BOOK OF JEREMIAH: Chapter 37


Week 37 in the Jewish calendar is the third week of Sivan, following Shavuot. The verse of Shir HaShirim of this week also describes going to the field and eating of its fruits, receiving G-d’s love. This week’s verse appears even more linked to Chag HaBikkurim, the festival fo the first fruits, collected from the field and brought as a sacrifice. Rashi explains that the description that the pomegranites lost their flowers is because they had become ripe. Rashi also connects each of the fruits mentioned with the knowledge and study of Torah (specifically the study of Mishna).

           

Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the thirty-seventh mentioned is Shuni. Shuni appears related to the verb, LeShanot, to “go over”/study the Torah.  This week is also connected with Becher, son of Benjamin. Becher is related to the word Bechor, firstborn, and also Bikkurim, the first fruits.


Daf Lamed Zayin (Folio 37) of Shvuot continues to discuss the oath of a “pikadon,” a gift or deposit. As mentioned above, the Torah is the quintessential gift, given to us at Sinai.


Chapter 37 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. It shows that the king of Judah is finally receptive to the prophet. It also includes the first signs of all of Jeremiah’s prophecies come to fruition and his vindication against the false prophets:


9. So said the Lord: Deceive not yourselves, saying, "The Chaldeans shall surely withdraw from us," for they shall not withdraw.  


(...)


17. And King Zedekiah sent and took him, and the king asked him secretly in his house, and he said, "Is there a word from the Lord?" And Jeremiah said, "There is." And he said, "You shall be given into the hand[s] of the king of Babylon."  


18. And Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, "What have I sinned against you and against your servants and against this people, that you have put me into the prison?  


19. And where are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, 'The king of Babylon shall not come upon you or upon this land'?
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