Weekly Cycle

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Week 32 (Book 3): Battling for the Land, Laying the Foundations

BESHALACH: 11. The Lord spoke to Moses, saying,  12. I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, In the afternoon you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be sated with bread, and you shall know that I am the Lord, your G-d.

HAFTORAH: because they came not to the aid of the Lord, to the aid of the Lord against the mighty.

TALMUD SOTAH: Daf 32 – Entering the Land of Israel; importance of using Hebrew.


JOURNEY IN THE DESERT:They journeyed from Abronah and camped in Etzion geber.

Like Week 31, Week 32 is also linked to Yom Ha’Atzmaut and the Land of Israel. (See explanation in Book 1) The Torah portion section for this week also speaks of how Hashem heard the complaints of the people of Israel, and how they were so mercifully and so miraculously answered.

The Haftorah mentions again those that did not aid Hashem in battle. Why would Hashem need any aid in battle? Rashi states that “those who aid Israel are as if they aid the Divine Presence.” In 1948, the nations of the world did not come to Israel's aid. (See Week 32, Book 1, the mule.) The Jewish people faced tremendous odds, yet they were successful through Divine mercy.

Daf Lamed Beit (Folio 32) of Sotah discusses invalid witnesses, and certain statements that must be said in Hebrew in order to be valid. The daf also discusses the blessings and curses that were said at Mount Grizim and Mount Eival when the Jewish people entered the Land of Israel. The daf is connected to the theme of entering the Land of Israel related to this week. It is also perhaps a reference to the renewal of the common use of the Hebrew language that took place as well.

Yishai, the son of Obed, is the father of King David. He was great in so many ways:

Ishai is one of the “eight princes of man” in Micha 5:4 according to Sukkah 52b. He went out at the head of a multitude of followers and returned with a multitude and he taught Torah to a multitude (Brochos 58a). Ishai inspired David to fight Goliath (Tanchuma Buber Vayigash 8). Four died solely because of the serpent’s advice to Eve, for they never sinned. Ishai was one of them (Shabbos 55b). “The Sages said: Ishai lived more than 400 years (Genesis Rabbah 96:4)."[1]
Yishai is identified (such as in Shemuel I 17:58) as "Beis haLachmi," which is usually rendered as "from Beis Lechem" (Bethlehem).[2]
It is worth noting that Radak quotes a Midrashic interpretation of this term. After David killed Goliath, King Saul asked (Shemuel I 17:55) who David was. This question is puzzling, for King Saul knew who David was, already. Some read the question as, "Is he a scion of a powerful line?" Thus David identified himself, in response (Shemuel I 17:58), as a son of Yishai "Beis haLachmi," meaning a person of war ("Milchamah"=war).[3]
This is week 32, which has the gematria of lev, heart. Yishai, spelled yud, shin, yud, has the gematria of 320, ten times Lev. His name appears to be Yesh Yud, “There is Yud,” perhaps a reference to the 32 paths of Chochmah, also connected to Lev. Yishai laid the foundations for his son, David, to become king. Similarly, the pioneering generation that made possible the return to the Land of Israel laid the foundations for the redemption that is still to come. As noted above, Yishai was called Beis HaLachmiLike Israel's pioneers, he was a man of war.   

In the thirty-second week, the Jews journey from Abronah and camp in Etzion geber. Etzion geber means the crow of the rooster. It may also mean the wisdom of the rooster. The personal journey for this week is to internalize the concept of re-establishing our identity in connection with the land, and now focus on the spiritual awakening that is Lag Ba’omer, when we open ourselves up to the inner wisdom of the Kabbalah.

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