Weekly Cycle

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Fourteenth Set of 22 Days: Nun Sofit, the Palm and the Tapuach (Etrog/Apple)

Fourteenth Set of 22 Days: from 17th of Tammuz to Tisha B’Av

Nun Sofit

The Palm and the Tapuach (Etrog/Apple)

5. Do not seek greatness for yourself, and do not lust for honor. More than you study, do. Desire not the table of kings, for your table is greater than theirs, and your crown is greater than theirs, and faithful is your Employer to pay you the rewards of your work.
6. Torah is greater than the priesthood or sovereignty, for sovereignty is acquired with thirty virtues, the priesthood with twenty-four, and Torah is acquired with forty-eight qualities. These are: study, listening, verbalizing, comprehension of the heart, awe, fear, humility, joy, purity, serving the sages, companionship with one's contemporaries, debating with one's students, tranquility, study of the scriptures, study of the Mishnah, minimizing engagement in business, minimizing socialization, minimizing pleasure, minimizing sleep, minimizing talk, minimizing gaiety, slowness to anger, good heartedness, faith in the sages, acceptance of suffering, knowing one's place, satisfaction with one's lot, qualifying one's words, not taking credit for oneself, likableness, love of G‑d, love of humanity, love of charity, love of justice, love of rebuke, fleeing from honor, lack of arrogance in learning, reluctance to hand down rulings, participating in the burden of one's fellow, judging him to the side of merit, correcting him, bringing him to a peaceful resolution [of his disputes], deliberation in study, asking and answering, listening and illuminating, learning in order to teach, learning in order to observe, wising one's teacher, exactness in conveying a teaching, and saying something in the name of its speaker. Thus we have learned: One who says something in the name of its speaker brings redemption to the world, as is stated (Esther 2:22), "And Esther told the king in the name of Mordechai."

The 17th of Tammuz begins the fourteenth set of 22 days of the Jewish calendar, which parallels the end-letter Nun (Nun Sofit), as well as the Palm Tree and the Tapuach (Etrog/Apple) in Perek Shirah. This 22-day period coincides with the Three Weeks of mourning from the the fast of the 17th of Tammuz to the fast of the 9th of Av. This cycle also contains the yahrzeit of the Ari HaKadosh on the 5th of Av and the birth of Mashiach on the 9th of Av.

As mentioned previously, the Nun stands for the Divine attribute (sefirah) of Malchut, Kingship, and is related to one of the names for Mashiach: Yinon. (Likutei Moharan) Nun also means "fish" in Aramaic, and is associated closely with Moshe. Joshua is called Yehoshua Bin Nun, the son of Nun, because a teacher (in this case, Moshe) is like a parent. The Nun also represents the idea of a faithful servant. While the regular Nun is bent, the final Nun is an unbounded straight line, reaching even below the "resting place" of the regular letters. (Rabbi Ginsburgh) The final Nun represents Mashiach's ability to infuse even the lowliest of realms with G-dliness. The final Nun also has the shape of an extended vav, which stands for uprightness.

Much of the suffering the Jewish people has endured during these three weeks is to lead us to a state of uprightness. These three weeks are also very much associated with the coming of Mashiach, who will be the ultimate example of such uprightness.

The above also appears to parallel the song of the animal for week 42 (Book 1), the Hound, which starts on the 18th of Tammuz. The hound's verse is "Let the righteous rejoice in G-d; praise is befitting to the upright." (Psalms 33:1)
A similar theme can be found regarding the elements in Perek Shirah.

The Palm is saying, "The righteous will flourish like the palm tree; they will grow like a cedar in Lebanon." (Psalms 92:13)

The Tapuach (Esrog/Apple) is saying, "Like the Tapuach tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among young men. I sat down under his shadow with delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste." (Song of Songs 2:3)

The Palm Tree is straight and upright, compared in the verse to the Tzadik. The cedar, also mentioned in this verse, is also tall and strong. Levanon, mentioned in this verse, is also a reference to the Temple. The first and second temples were destroyed during this time of the year because of corruption. The third one will be rebuilt when the Jewish people will be straight and upright, and will last forever.

The Tapuach, whether it represents the Etrog or the Apple,  is associated with the Garden of Eden - a state of closeness with G-d, which we will reach in the Messianic era.

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