Week 40 in the Jewish calendar is the second week of Tammuz. The verse of Shir HaShirim of this week makes reference to the Temple, calling it “the house of my mother.” (See Rashi) The month of Tammuz is very much connected to exile and the destruction of the Temple. The number forty is the gematria of the letter Mem and next week, 41, is the gematria of Alef Mem, which spells, Em, mother. The verse also mentions the pomegranate, and this period of the year is connected to the pomegranate in Perek Shirah (See Book 6).
Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the fortieth mentioned is Arodi. The name seems related to the verb to descend, Lered, which is also connected to exile. This week is also connected to Naaman, son of Benjamin, whose means pleasant, a reference to how Joseph’s deeds were “seemly and pleasant.” Like Joseph, we must hold fast to the ways of righteousness, even in exile.
Daf Mem (Folio 40) of Shvuot describes admission related to paying someone back. Interestingly, this is related to Book 1, Week 40, in which the Wolf decries stealing – the wolf specifically mentions, “the ox, the donkey, the lamb, the garment, for every lost item” and the daf too, discusses all sorts of of items in dispute, including ox, sheep, vessels, land, etc. Again, the focus is on maintaining our moral standards, even in exile.
Chapter 40 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. It introduces the leader Gedaliah, a righteous leader. Because of Gedaliah’s righteousness, despite the great destruction that befell us, life is able to regain some degree of normalcy.
9. And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan swore to them and to their men, saying, "Fear not to serve the Chaldeans. Dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you.
Gedaliah was also so righteous that he refused to believe that another leader would attempt to assassinate him.