Sunday, September 7, 2014

Week 49 (Book 4b): The King is in the Field

SONG OF SONGS: 11. Solomon had a vineyard in Baal-Hamon; he gave the vineyard to the keepers; each one brought for the fruit thereof one thousand pieces of silver.
70 SOULS THAT DESCENDED TO EGYPT: Malkiel and Jahze’el
TALMUD SHEVUOTH: Daf 49 – Being a Watchman/Keeper

Week 49 in the Jewish calendar is the third week of Elul. The verse of Shir HaShirim for this week compares the Jewish people to a vineyard, as well as populous nation placed in the hand of the nations of exile (“the keepers”).
The verse can also be interpreted in light of the teaching of the Alter Rebbe that during the month of Elul, the King is in the field, and greets each person with a smile. In Shir HaShirim, the name Solomon is a reference to Hashem Himself. He comes to the field (the vineyard) and to each keeper (each Jewish person). Each person shows an enormous desire to connect to G-d during this month, a thousand pieces of silver (silver, kesef, in Kabbalah stands for desire, kissufim).
Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the forty-ninth mentioned is Malkiel. Malkiel means “my King is G-d.” In addition to the idea that during Elul, “the King is in the field,” this week is also connected with Malchut shebeMalchut. (See Week 49, Book 1)
Week 49 is also connected with Jahze’el, which means “G-d will apportion (or divide, break)” (See Week 40, Book 2) Here is also appears related to the quality of Malchut, both being apportioned the position as well as the idea of being humble/broken.
Daf Mem Tet (Folio 49) of Shvuot is practically a chapter in itself, discussing the four kinds of watchmen (Shomrim): one watches for free, one borrows, another receives a fee, and the last rents. They all have different levels of rights and obligations. It interesting to note the similarity between this section and that of Shir HaShirim, also related to watchmen/keepers. As we approach the end of the year, we also need to show that we have taken good care of that which we have been entrusted: our soul. If we have not taken such good care of it, it is time to make things right.
Chapter 49 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. The chapter speaks of the downfall of Ammon, as well as Edom, Aram, and Elam. As mentioned last week, each gentile nation is associated with a specific impurity. (Likutei Moharan, Lesson 101)


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