Weekly Cycle

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Week 27 (Book 3): Amminadab, Emunah & Self-Sacrifice

1. They journeyed from Elim, and the entire community of the children of Israel came to the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt. 2. The entire community of the children of Israel complained against Moses and against Aaron in the desert. 

in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo;
they took no gain of money.

Talmud Sotah: Daf 27: when Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah became the Nassi; Song of Songs


They journeyed from Hashmonah and camped in Moseroth.

Continuing now in the month of Nissan, Week 27 contains the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shalom DovBer of Lubavitch, the Rebbe Rashab. In the Torah portion section for this week, we also enter in full into the theme of Parashat HaMan: the need to train the Jews to have faith in G-d and not complain. The verses repeat twice the phrase “the entire community of Israel,” which in the context of the complaints, appears to point to the fact that the lack of emunah  (complete faith) of this generation was widespread, and would require some serious work. As mentioned previously, the commentaries note that it was in this location that their food supplies came to an end, and it was this in fact that was the source of their complaints.

The Haftorah’s verses for this week speak of a lack of concern for money matters, which is the exact opposite of the concern and lack of emunah described above. The Canaanite kings “took no gain of money” to come attack the Jewish people. If our enemies act with such disregard for their financial condition, how much more so should we, especially since we know that our sustenance comes from Hashem.

Daf Kaf Zayin (Folio 27) of Sotah discusses the case of a woman of ill repute, a few cases of women that do not drink the Sotah water, and the punishment given to the male adulterer. The daf ends discussing additional laws taught when Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah became the Nassi, and discusses how the Song of the Sea was sung between Moshe and the Children of Israel. The daf contains many of the themes related to Judah mentioned in the previous week. The discussion of Rabbi Elazer ben Azariah as Nassi, is not only pertinent because the Nassi had to be from the Tribe of Judah as an extension of the Davidic dynasty, but because because Rabbi Elazar’s appointment as Nassi is one of the crucial focus points of the Passover Hagadah. It is also during these days that we read the “Nassi” for each day, connecting to the head of each Tribe. The discussion of the Song of the Sea is also obviously extremely connected to the Exodus and the month of Nissan.

Aminadav, son of Ram, is the father of Nachshon and Elisheva, Aharon’s wife. Miriam was married to his uncle, Calev. As will be discussed further next week, there is a well known Midrash that the actions of Nachshon were the ones that led to the splitting of the Sea of Reeds. Aminadav is perhaps the main link connecting the line of Judah to the family of Moses. This is perhaps the link between the redemption from Egypt and the Messianic redemption to come. The name Aminadav, offering of my people, which appears related to the offering of the Nassi mentioned previously. Nedavah means a voluntary offering, as was the gift of inauguration. The Rebbe Rashab, was a Nasi, someone who offered himself with great Mesirat Nefesh, self-sacrifice on behalf of his people.

In the twenty-seventh week, the Jews journey from Chashmonah and camp in Moseroth. This is the place of Aaaron’s passing. Aaron was the Nassi of the Tribe of Levi, and we read of his lighting of the Temple Menorah as part of the inauguration ceremonies. Aharon is the fifth Shepherd, just as the Rebbe Rashab was the Fifth Rebbe of Lubavitch. 

Rabbi Jacobson explains that Moseroth comes from the word musar, which means advice and chastisement related to ethical conduct. As we prepare for Passover, the cleaning for Passover also involves a cleansing of one’s ego – and that entails the ability to accept criticism. Moseroth also appears related to the word Mesirat Nefesh, self-sacrifice (above), and Masoret, tradition. Much of the ceremony of Passover involves continuing family customs and traditions. 

The personal journey for this week is to internalize the concept of rededicating ourselves, leading or being connected to our leaders, and now focus on self-sacrifice and emunah, cleansing ourselves of our ego in preparation for Passover.

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