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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Week 48 (Book 4b): Heber and To Be Connected


SONG OF SONGS: 10. I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers, then I was in his eyes as one who finds peace.
70 SOULS THAT DESCENDED TO EGYPT: Heber and Naftali
TALMUD SHEVUOTH: Daf 48 – New Moon
BOOK OF JEREMIAH: Chapter 48

Week 48 in the Jewish calendar is the second week of Elul. The zodiac sign for this month is virgo. The verse of Shir HaShirim for this week continues to speak of the Jewish people as a young virgin/bride. She promises to stand strong against any who try to seduce her, and because of this she finds peace with her Husband.
Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the forty-eighth mentioned is Heber. Heber means friend, connection – perhaps a reference to the strong bond we have with G-d during this month, which stands for “Ani LeDodi veDodi Li,” “I am for my Beloved and my Beloved is for me.” Heber is also the name of the husband of another incredibly important Biblical female figure: Yael.
This week is also connected with Naftali. Of all the children of Jacob, it is only Naftali that is associated with a female animal because the prophetess Deborah comes from this tribe (Rashi). Naftali is described by Jacob as an Ayalah Shluchah (a swift gazelle, similar to the name Yael, which means “mountain goat”). Naftali also comes from the word for “sweetness,” also associated with the Divine closeness we experience during this month.
Daf Mem Cheit (Folio 48) of Shvuot discusses contradicting testimonies about the new moon and about whether money was given. It also discusses swearing of orphans, comparing it to that of a woman that swears in order to receive the rest of her ketubah that was already partially paid. Finally, the daf discusses overturning a final ruling and swearing about uncertain claims. Again, the theme Teshuvah and renewal (“New Moon,” overturning final rulings) is quite prevalent, as well as the female theme connected to Elul.
Chapter 48 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. The chapter speaks of the downfall of Moab. As mentioned last week, each gentile nation is associated with a specific impurity. (Likutei Moharan Torah Kuf Alef, Lesson 101)

 
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