Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 51 (Contd.): Chuldah (Wiesel) and Citing Your Sources

Week 51 starts this Tuesday night:

The quality needed to acquire the Torah for this week is “who relates a statement in the name of the one who said it.” During the week of selichot, we are careful not to take credit for our actions and the opportunity to do teshuvah. We pray in the merit of our patriarchs, repeatedly mentioning the 13 attributes of mercy words spoken by G-d Himself, and transmitted to us by Moses.

This week’s prophet is Chuldah. Incredibly, as explained in Book 1, Chuldah, wiesel in Hebrew, is also the animal of week 51! Chuldah’s story contains many aspects of this quality, both regarding the men that approach Chuldah in the name of Josiah the King, as well as Chuldah herself. Both in Kings, Chapter 22, and Chronicles, Chapter 34. The story repeats quite a few times that men (incidentally two of which are named Shaphan (“rabbit) and Achbor (“mouse”)) asked Chuldah in the name of king. Chuldah responds by speaking in the name of G-d.
Perhaps “beshem omroh,” which literally means saying something in the name of the one who says it (in the present), means more than just citing the source of the statement, but also means being true to the meaning of the original message. Chuldah exemplifies this quality probably more than any other prophet in the sense that King Josiah specifically sought out Chuldah instead of Jeremiah because he thought that perhaps as a woman she would be have more mercy than a man, and would be able to bring forth a more merciful outcome. Chuldah, however, speaks as strongly as Jeremiah would have, inkeeping with the quality of relating a statement “beshem omroh.” The sages even discuss why Chuldah would prophesize publically at all being that Jeremiah was the main prophet at the time – they explain that Jeremiah and Chuldah were actually relatives.

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