Weekly Cycle

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Book 5 in a Nutshell

Song of Songs
Seventy Souls 

Talmud, Shevuos
Book of Jeremiah
Rosh Hashanah
1. The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's.
2. "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine.
3. Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils, your name is 'oil poured forth.' Therefore, the maidens loved you.

Portion of Shevuos Torah reading

Chapter 1
Yom Kippur
4. Draw me, we will run after you; the king brought me to his chambers. We will rejoice and be glad in you. We will recall your love more fragrant than wine; they have loved you sincerely.

5. I am black but comely, O daughters of Jerusalem! Like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.

6. Do not look upon me [disdainfully] because I am swarthy, for the sun has gazed upon me; my mother's sons were incensed against me; they made me a keeper of the vineyards; my own vineyard I did not keep.

Chapter 2
7. Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where do you feed, where do you rest [the flocks] at noon, for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?"

8. "If you do not know, O fairest of women, go your way in the footsteps of the flocks and pasture your kids beside the shepherds' dwellings.

9. At the gathering of the steeds of Pharaoh's chariots have I silenced you, my beloved.

Chapter 3
Shemini Atzeret
10. Your cheeks are comely with rows, your neck with necklaces.                     
11. We will make you rows of gold with studs of silver."            

12. "While the king was still at his table, my spikenard gave forth its fragrance.

Chapter 4
Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan
13. A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me; between my breasts he shall lie.                     

14. A cluster of henna-flowers is my beloved to me, in the vineyards of Ein-Gedi."           

15. "Behold, you are comely, my beloved; behold, you are comely; your eyes are like doves."


Chapter 5
First Week of Cheshvan
(Potential 3rd Temple Holiday)
16. "Behold, you are comely, my beloved, yea pleasant; also our couch is leafy.

17. The beams of our houses are cedars; our corridors are cypresses."

1. "I am a rose of Sharon, a rose of the valleys."

Chapter 6
Second Week of Cheshvan
(3rd Temple)

2. "As a rose among the thorns, so is my beloved among the daughters."                                               
3. "As an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the sons; in his shade I delighted and sat, and his fruit was sweet to my palate.                                           
4. He brought me to the banquet hall, and his attraction to me [was symbolic of his] love.

Chapter 7
Third Week of Cheshvan
(3rd Temple)
5. Sustain me with flagons of wine, spread my bed with apples, for I am lovesick.

6. His left hand was under my head, and his right hand would embrace me.

7. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the hinds of the field, that you neither awaken nor arouse the love while it is desirous.

Chapter 8
Fourth Week of Chesvan or Rosh Chodesh Kislev
8. The sound of my beloved! Behold, he is coming, skipping over the mountains, jumping over the hills.

9. My beloved resembles a gazelle or a fawn of the hinds; behold, he is standing behind our wall, looking from the windows, peering from the lattices.

10. My beloved raised his voice and said to me, 'Arise, my beloved, my fair one, and come away.

Chapter 9
Rosh Chodesh Kislev or 1st week
11. For behold, the winter has passed; the rain is over and gone.  

12. The blossoms have appeared in the land, the time of singing has arrived, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.   

13. The fig tree has put forth its green figs, and the vines with their tiny grapes have given forth their fragrance; arise, my beloved, my fair one, and come away.:

Chapter 10
Yud Kislev

14. My dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the coverture of the steps, show me your appearance, let me hear your voice, for your voice is pleasant and your appearance is comely.'
15. Seize for us the foxes, the little foxes, who destroy the vineyards, for our vineyards are with tiny grapes.
16. My beloved is mine, and I am his, who grazes among the roses.

Chapter 11
Yud Tet Kislev
17. Until the sun spreads, and the shadows flee, go around; liken yourself, my beloved, to a gazelle or to a fawn of the hinds, on distant mountains."

1. On my bed at night, I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him but I did not find him.
2. I will arise now and go about the city, in the market places and in the city squares. I will seek him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but I did not find him.

And he prostrated himself there to the Lord.
Saul the son of the Canaanitess
Chapter 12
3. The watchmen who patrol the city found me: "Have you seen him whom my soul loves?"
4. I had just passed them by, when I found him whom my soul loves; I held him and would not let him go, until I brought him into my mother's house and into the chamber of her who had conceived me.
5. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the hinds of the field, that you neither awaken nor arouse the love while it is desirous.

Chapter 13
Chanukah/Rosh Chodesh Tevet
6. Who is this coming up from the desert, like columns of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, of all the powder of the peddler?

7. Behold the litter of Solomon; sixty mighty men are around it, of the mighty men of Israel.

8. They all hold the sword, skilled in warfare; each one with his sword on his thigh because of fear at night.

Chapter 14
10th of Tevet
9. King Solomon made himself a palanquin of the trees of Lebanon.

10. Its pillars he made of silver, its couch of gold, its curtain of purple, its interior inlaid with love, from the daughters of Jerusalem.

11. Go out, O daughters of Zion, and gaze upon King Solomon, upon the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his nuptials and on the day of the joy of his heart.

Chapter 15
Third Week of Tevet
1. "Behold, you are fair, my beloved; behold, you are fair; your eyes are [like] doves, from within your kerchief; your hair is like a flock of goats that streamed down from Mount Gilead.

2. Your teeth are like a flock of uniformly shaped [ewes] that came up from the washing, all of whom are perfect, and there is no bereavement among them.

3. Your lips are like a scarlet thread, and your speech is comely; your temple is like a split pomegranate from within your kerchief.

Chapter 16
Fourth Week of Tevet
4. Your neck is like the Tower of David, built as a model; a thousand shields hanging on it, all the quivers of the mighty men.

5. Your two breasts are like two fawns, the twins of a gazelle, who graze among the roses.

6. Until the sun spreads and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense.
Chapter 17
Rosh Chodesh Shvat
7. You are all fair, my beloved, and there is no blemish in you.

8. With me from Lebanon, my bride, with me from Lebanon shall you come; you shall look from the peak of Amanah, from the peak of Senir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from mountains of leopards.

9. You have captivated my heart, my sister, [my] bride; you have captivated my heart with one of your eyes, with one link of your necklaces.

Chapter 18
Yud Shvat

10. How fair is your love, my sister, [my] bride; how much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than all spices!

11. Your lips drip flowing honey, O bride; honey and milk are under your tongue, and the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.

12. A locked up garden is my sister, [my] bride; a locked up spring, a sealed fountain.
Chapter 19
Tu B'Shvat
13. Your arid fields are as a pomegranate orchard with sweet fruit, henna and spikenard.

14. Spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all frankincense trees, myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices.

15. A garden fountain, a well of living waters and flowing streams from Lebanon."

Chapter 20
Fourth Week of Shvat

16. "Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out; let my beloved come to his garden and eat his sweet fruit."                                
1. "I have come to my garden, my sister, [my] bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice, I have eaten my sugar cane with my sugar, I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, beloved ones."                                                                   
2. "I sleep, but my heart is awake. Hark! My beloved is knocking: Open for me, my sister, my beloved, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is full of dew, my locks with the drops of the night."                           
Chapter 21
Rosh Chodesh Adar

3. "I have taken off my tunic; how can I put it on? I have bathed my feet; how can I soil them?"

4. My beloved stretched forth his hand from the hole, and my insides stirred because of him.

5. I arose to open for my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, and my fingers with flowing myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.

Chapter 22
First Week of Adar
6. I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had hidden and was gone; my soul went out when he spoke; I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he did not answer me.

7. The watchmen who patrol the city found me; they smote me and wounded me; the watchmen of the walls took my jewelry off me.

8. "I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, what will you tell him? That I am lovesick."

Chapter 23

9. "What is your beloved more than another beloved, O fairest of women? What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you have so adjured us?"

10. "My beloved is white and ruddy, surrounded by myriads.

11. His head is as the finest gold; his locks are curled, [they are as] black as a raven.

Chapter 24
Third Week of Adar

12. His eyes are like doves beside rivulets of water, bathing in milk, fitly set.

13. His jaws are like a bed of spice, growths of aromatic plants; his lips are [like] roses, dripping with flowing myrrh.

14. His hands are [like] wheels of gold, set with chrysolite; his abdomen is [as] a block of ivory, overlaid with sapphires.

Chapter 25
Rosh Chodesh Nissan

15. His legs are [as] pillars of marble, founded upon sockets of fine gold, his appearance is like the Lebanon, chosen as the cedars.               

16. His palate is sweet, and he is altogether desirable; this is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem."                        
1. "Where has your beloved gone, O fairest of women? Where has your beloved turned, that we may seek him with you?"   

Chapter 26
First Week of Nissan
2. "My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the spice beds, to graze in the gardens and to gather roses.

3. I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine, who grazes among the roses."

4. "You are fair, my beloved, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, awesome as the bannered legions.

Chapter 27
First Day of Pessach
5. Turn away your eyes from me, for they have made me haughty; your hair is like a flock of goats that streamed down from Gilead.                                

6. Your teeth are like a flock of ewes that came up from the washing, all of which are perfect and there is no bereavement among them.

7. Your temple is like a split pomegranate from beneath your kerchief.

Chapter 28
8. There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and innumerable maidens.

9. My dove, my perfect one, is but one; she is one to her mother, she is the pure one of she who bore her; daughters saw her and praised her, queens and concubines, and they lauded her;

10. Who is this who looks forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, awesome as the bannered legions?"

Chapter 29
Fourth Week of Nissan
11. "I went down to the nut garden to see the green plants of the valley, to see whether the vine had blossomed, the pomegranates were in bloom.                  
12. I did not know; my soul made me chariots for a princely people."                               
1. "Return, return, O Shulammite; return, return, and let us gaze upon you." "What will you see for the Shulammite, as in the dance of the two camps?

Chapter 30
Rosh Chodesh Iyar/ 5 de Iyar
2. How fair are your feet in sandals, O daughter of nobles! The curves of your thighs are like jewels, the handiwork of a craftsman.

3. Your navel is [like] a round basin, where no mixed wine is lacking; your belly is [like] a stack of wheat, fenced in with roses.

4. Your two breasts are like two fawns, the twins of a gazelle.

Chapter 31
Second Week of Iyar

5. Your neck is like an ivory tower; your eyes are [like] pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-Rabbim; your face is as the tower of Lebanon, facing towards Damascus.

6. Your head upon you is like Carmel, and the braided locks of your head are like purple; the king is bound in the tresses.

7. How fair and how pleasant you are, a love with delights!


Chapter 32
Pessach Sheini/ Lag Ba’Omer
8. This, your stature, is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like clusters [of dates].

9. I said: Let me climb up the palm tree, let me seize its boughs, and let your breasts be now like clusters of the vine and the fragrance of your countenance like [that of] apples.
Asenath daughter of Poti-phera Chife of On
Chapter 33
Fourth Week of Iyar
10. And your palate is like the best wine, that glides down smoothly to my beloved, making the lips of the sleeping speak."

Chapter 34
Rosh Chodesh Sivan/ Yom Yerushalayim
11. "I am my beloved's, and his desire is upon me.


Chapter 35
12. Come, my beloved, let us go out to the field, let us lodge in the villages.

Chapter 36
Third Week of Sivan
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.

Chapter 37
Fourth Week of Sivan
14. The pots [of figs] have given forth [their] fragrance, and on our doorways are all manner of sweet fruits, both new and old, which I have hidden away for you, my beloved."


Chapter 38
Rosh Chodesh Tammuz
1. "O, that you were like my brother, who sucked my mother's breasts! I would find you outside, I would kiss you, and they would not despise me.  

Chapter 39
Second Week of Tammuz
2. I would lead you, I would bring you to the house of my mother, who instructed me; I would give you to drink some spiced wine, of the juice of my pomegranate.    

Chapter 40
12,13 of Tammuz/ 17 of Tammuz
3. His left hand would be under my head, and his right hand would embrace me.

Chapter 41
Fourth Week of Tammuz
4. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem; why should you awaken, and why should you arouse the love until it is desirous?"

Chapter 42
Rosh Chodesh Av
5. "Who is this coming up from the desert, embracing her beloved?" "Under the apple tree I aroused you; there your mother was in travail with you; there she that bore you was in travail."

Chapter 43
Tisha B'Av
6. "Place me like a seal on your heart, liked a seal on your arm, for love is as strong as death, zeal is as strong as the grave; its coals are coals of fire of a great flame!
Chapter 44
Tu B'Av
7. Many waters cannot quench the love, nor can rivers flood it; should a man give all the property of his house for love, they would despise him.

Chapter 45
Third Week of Av
8. We have a little sister who has no breasts; what shall we do for our sister on the day she is spoken for?

Chapter 46
Rosh Chodesh Elul
9. If she be a wall, we will build upon her a silver turret, and if she be a door, we will enclose her with cedar boards.

Chapter 47
First Week of Elul
10. I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers, then I was in his eyes as one who finds peace.

Chapter 48
Second Week of Elul
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.

Chapter 49
Chai Elul
12. My vineyard, which is mine, is before me; you, O Solomon, shall have the thousand, and those who watch its fruit, two hundred.

2 - 8
Chapter 50
Fourth Week of Elul/Slichot
13. You, who sit in the gardens the friends hearken to your voice; let me hear [it].

9 – 16
Chapter 51
Slichot/Rosh Hashanah
14. Flee, my beloved, and liken yourself to a gazelle or to a fawn of the hinds on the spice mountains."1. A song of ascents about Solomon


17 - 24
Chapter 52

 ותצחק רחל די

Book 4b

The second part of Bamidbar is about a darker side of exile. It’s about wandering in the desert, being so close to Hashem that sometimes it hurts; feeling so far from Hashem that it hurts even more. The tests of exile bring about tremendous tragedy; yet they also reveal our true nature, our Divine Essence. As much as Bamidbar is about seeing things spiritually and connecting to our essence, it’s also about connecting to the power of words, of prayer. That is the root of the very word Midbar (desert): Davar, the spoken word. It takes going through Bamidbar (Numbers) to get to Devarim (Deuteronomy), which literally means, “words.” The sets of 52 explored in this text are as follows:

The Song of Songs (Shir HaShirim) encapsulates the stresses and longings of exile more than any other work in the Tanach. Perhaps that is why Rabbi Akiva stated that if the entire Tanach is holy, the Song of Songs is the “Holy of Holies.” The work expresses tremendous longing for Hashem: tremendous remorse over the sins that caused Him to distance Himself, and the longing for they day we will return to Him.

The first description of collective exile in the Torah is the description of the seventy souls (descendants of Jacob) that descended into Egypt. Each one of the souls contains an essential aspect of the Jewish people, and also of that particular week in the Jewish calendar.

The Tractate of Shevuos, which like the Tractate of Sotah, contains 49 folios and is studied during the Counting the Omer, is all about the power of words.

The Book of Jeremiah, which has 52 chapters, describes one of the greatest tragedies  to befall the Jewish people: the fall of the First Temple. Yet, within what appear to be an extremely sobering and bleak descriptions, there is also a glimmer of light and many references to the deep and unbreakable connection between G-d and the Jewish people. Also, the example of Jeremiah himself, his prayers, inner strength, and his impeccable behavior during this time, are a source of great inspiration.

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