Weekly Cycle

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Week 21 (Book 5): Celebrating "Sweet Fruit" in the Winter

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."


TALMUD SHEVUOTH: DAF 21 – Oaths and Eating


Week 21 in the Jewish calendar is the last week of Shevat. The verses of Shir HaShirim of this week again address the theme of nature, as well as pleasure. It speaks of eating sweet fruit of a garden, spices, sugar cane, wine and milk. Wine and "drinking abundantly" is also mentioned, perhaps a reference to the coming month of Adar. The last verse also contains a theme similar to that of Shevat: "I sleep, but my heart is awake..." We are still in the middle of winter, but it is past Tu B'Shvat and the sap inside the trees has begun to melt.   

Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the twenty-first mentioned is Zerach. Zerach is Perez’s brother. His name means sunrise. During his birth, he was the first to stretch out his hand, although he ended up being born later, after Perez. Similarly, sunrise is the first moment in which the morning Shmoneh Esreh can be said and the day initially begins, although most people begin prayer much later. This is all related to Shevat, the first “appearance” of spring and the sun, although spring itself comes much later.

Daf Kaf Alef (Folio 21) of Shvuot continues to discuss different laws related to oaths, most of which are also related to eating.

Chapter 21 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. The chapter has many references to nature: valleys, plains, fruit, and a forest:

The chapter speaks of pain endured by Jeremiah, but its most strking part is when he speaks of the day of his birth. It seems to relate back to the theme of “natural” birth related to this month:

13. Behold I am against you, O dweller of the valley, rock of the plain, says the Lord, those who say, "Who will encamp upon us, and who will come into our dwellings?"   

14. And I will visit upon you according to the fruit of your deeds, says the Lord, and I will ignite a fire in her forest, and it will consume all her surroundings. 

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