Weekly Cycle

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Week 19 (Book 5): Spiritual Pleasure


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.


TALMUD SHEVUOTH: Daf 19 - Oaths against eating food


Week 19 in the Jewish calendar is the week of Yud Shevat. The verses of Shir HaShirim of this week again address the theme of nature, as well as Ta’anug, pleasure.

Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the nineteenth mentioned is Shelah. Judah’s first two sons are skipped because they died childless due to their sins. Shelah’s brothers also represent the idea of inappropriately engaging in pleasure. Shelah was also supposed to marry Tamar, yet he was still young and later Yehudah thought of ways to prevent him to be given to her.

Daf Yud Tet (Folio 19) of Shvuot is primarily about discussing the law of someone who forgot both that he was impure and that he was in the Temple. It also discusses the two primary kinds of oaths, both of which are related to food. The first part appears to be associated with the Oral Law, the focus of the month of Shevat. The second part, regarding food, is related to Ta’anug, pleasure.

Chapter 19 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. The chapter speaks about eating and pleasure, and how these concepts can be completely corrupted:

4. Because they forsook Me and they estranged this place and burnt incense therein to other gods, which they had not known, they, their forefathers, and the kings of Judah, and they filled this place with the blood of innocent people.

5. And they built the high places of Baal to burn their children with fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command, neither did I speak nor did it enter My mind. (…)

9. And I will feed them the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and each one will eat the flesh of his friend, in the siege and the straits that their enemies and those who seek their lives will inflict upon them.

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