Weekly Cycle

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Week 28 (Book 5): Shimron and the "Night of Vigil" (Leil Shimurim)

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.


TALMUD SHEVUOTH: Daf 28 - Oaths over bread.


Week 28 in the Jewish calendar is the week of the first night of Passover. The verses of Shir HaShirim of this week are from Hashem’s perspective. Again, there is a reference to domesticated animals – the goat and the ewe. There is also a reference to the need to stay away from haughtiness, which is the essential aspect of Passover: ridding oneself of chametz and eating the matzah.

Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the twenty-eighth mentioned is Shimron. The name Shimron appears to have at its root the word Shomer, to keep, to guard. Matzah needs to be Shmurah, guarded: “You shall guard the matzot.” (Exodus, 12:17) The matzot need guarding to ensure that it does not become chametz. Otherwise, it may not been eaten on Passover. The main mitzvah of eating matzah is on the first night of Passover. That night is called, “Leil Shimurim,” a night in which we feel G-d watch over us to such an extent that it is even common custom to keep doors unlocked.

Daf Kaf Chet (Folio 28) of Shvuot continues to discuss different laws related to oaths made over a loaf of bread, and what happens if one ate such a bread. Again, there’s a clear connection to Passover and not eating bread at this time of the year.

Chapter 28 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. It again mentions the “yoke” of Babylonian exile, similar to that carried by a domesticated animal. It also gives the prime example of someone who is filled with spiritual chametz to the point of believing his own false prophecies, compared to Jeremiah, who maintains his humility throughout:   

10. And Hananiah the prophet took the bar off the neck of Jeremiah the prophet and broke it. (…)
13. Go and say to Hananiah, saying: So said the Lord: Bars of wood have you broken, and you shall make in their stead bars of iron.  
15. And Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah the prophet: The Lord did not send you, and you assured this people with a lie.
16. Therefore, so said the Lord: Behold I send you off the face of the earth; this year you shall die, for you have spoken perversion against the Lord.  
17. And Hananiah the prophet died in that year, in the seventh month.

Nissan is the seventh month counting from Rosh Hashanah.    

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