Weekly Cycle

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Week 42 (Book 2): Mehsiah and Being Placed in the Path of Truth

HAAZINU: I will intoxicate My arrows with blood, and My sword will consume flesh, from the blood of the slain and the captives, from the first breach of the enemy.' (Deuteronomy 32:42)

HAFTORAH: They looked about, but there was no one to save them; [Even] to the Lord, but He answered them not. (II Samuel 22:42)

PIRKEI AVOT QUALITY: Places Him [in The Path of] Truth (Ma’amidoh Al Ha’Emet)

PROPHET: Mehsiah


Week Forty-Two is the last week of the month of Tammuz, and Haazinu’s verse refers to G-d destroying Israel’s enemies. The Haftorah again contains the same theme, associated also with the month of Tammuz, when in the future, the Jewish people’s fortunes in this month will be reversed for the good.

The quality for this week is places him [in the path of] truth (ma’amidoh al ha’emet). The verb used does not means place, but rather "raise." It is the same verb used in the opening verses of Pirkei Avot, in which the Men of the Great Assembly advised that future generations, “raise up many students.” The reason the word “raise” is used, is that the students have to be able to stand on their own two feet. Truth, by definition is the necessary foundation for one to be able to stand on his/her own.[1]

This week’s prophet is Mehsiah. Mehsiah was the grandfather of Baruch and Seriah. His name appears in Chapters 32 and 51 of the Book of Jeremiah. In both chapters, the punishment mentioned is ultimately necessary to set the Jewish people on a path of truth and goodness.

This week’s levitical city is Mepha’ath. Mepha’ath is also one of the cities mentioned in the prophecy against Moab. The word Mepha’ath means "to shine." As mentioned previously, this month is about working on our sense of sight. As we work on our own self-refinement and look at things in the proper positive way, we can see beauty shine forth, both in others and in ourselves.

[1] The letters of emet themselves allude to this. They all have “stable foundations,” and can stand on their own. The opposite of truth, sheker, is made up of three letters that cannot stand on their own – they are unstable and fall. This is reminiscent of the song of the Fox, in week 41 of Book 1, which states, “Woe to him that builds his house without justice and his chambers without lawfulness…” In Week 42 of Book 1, the hound sings, "Let the righteous rejoice in G-d; praise is befitting to the upright." (As explained there, these statements reflect why the Temple could not stand due to the corruption of the times, as well as the proper way to correct these flaws.

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