Monday, February 24, 2014

Week 25 (Book 4b): Learning Torah and Listening to the Leader of the Generation

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.


TALMUD SHEVUOTH: Daf 25 - Oaths for the Past and Future


Week 25 in the Jewish calendar is the last week of Adar. The verses of Shir HaShirim of this week speak of various spices and aromatic plants, including myrrh, which Talmud is a reference to Mordechai. Rashi explains that the above verses are primarily a reference to the study halls of the Jewish people and how there they clarify and uncover the mysteries of the Torah. Our sages explain that it was the efforts of Mordechai and the Jews at the time to strengthen the public study of Torah that led to our redemption. As also mentioned previously, the month of Adar is about Megillat Esther, uncovering (Legalot) the hidden (Nistar).

Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the twenty-fifth mentioned is Tola. Tola is also later the name of one of the Judges, who was from the Tribe of Issachar. Tola’s sons are mentioned in Chronicles (7:1), about which Rashi has a fascinating comment:

And of the sons of Issachar: Tola, and Puah, and Jashub, and Shimron: In the Pentateuch (Gen. 46:13) it is written: “and Job.” Job was his name [originally], but since they settled themselves (נִתְיַשְּׁבוּ) to learn Torah, as it is written (below 12: 33): “And of the sons of Issachar, who possessed understanding of the times,” he merited and was called Jashub (יָשוּב).

The role for Tola appears very much related to Mordechai (who was the leader/judge during the time of Purim) and the public study of Torah as described above.

Daf Kaf Heh (Folio 25) of Shvuot continues tod to it discuss different laws related to oaths, and whether they can apply to the past as well as to the future. Week 25 is the midway point of the “Counting of the Omer” of the weeks of the entire year.

Chapter 25 of the Book of Jeremiah is very much related to the above and thte general themes of this month. The chapter speaks of the importance of listening to the leader of the generation, in this case the king, as well as to the prophets and to the words of Hashem (the Torah). It also speaks much of drinking and getting drunk. It also discusses future destructions of other peoples (related to the destruction of Amalek). There is also a reference to Jerusalem, the levitical city related to this week. (See Book 2)

3. From the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until this day, these twenty- three years the word of the Lord has come to me, and I spoke to you, arising early and speaking, but you did not hearken.                    

4. And the Lord sent to you all His servants, the prophets, sending them early, but you did not hearken and you did not incline your ear[s] to listen. (…)

8. Therefore, so said the Lord of Hosts: Since you have not hearkened to My words, (…)

15. For so said the Lord God of Israel to me; Take this cup of the wine of fury from My hand, and you shall give it to all the nations to whom I send you, to drink.

16. And they shall drink and reel to and fro and be like madmen because of the sword that I am sending among them.            

17. And I took the cup from the hand of the Lord, and I gave it to all the nations to whom the Lord had sent me, to drink.

26. And all the kings of the north, both near and far, one after the other, and all the kingdoms of the earth that are upon the face of the earth; and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.

27. And you shall say to them: So said the Lord God of Israel; Drink, become drunk, and vomit, fall and you shall not rise, because of the sword that I am sending among you.      

28. And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup from your hand to drink, that you shall say to them: So said the Lord of Hosts: You shall surely drink.

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