Weekly Cycle

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Week 42 (Book 5): Faithfulness in Exile


SONG OF SONGS: 4. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem; why should you awaken, and why should you arouse the love until it is desirous?"




TALMUD SHEVUOTH: Daf 42 – Paying Back Loans


 Week 42 in the Jewish calendar is the last week of Tammuz, and the first of the three weeks of mourning over the destruction of the Temple. In the verse of Shir HaShirim of this week, the Jewish people call out to the other nations, adjuring them not to interfere in its relationship with G-d. It brings to mind the song of the Hound in Book 1, and how the Jewish people maintain their loyalty to G-d despite the difficulties of exile, and how G-d maintains his faithfulness to us. This is also captured in Rashi’s comment on the above verse: “Now the congregation of Israel addresses the nations, “Even though I complain and lament, my Beloved holds on to my hand, and He is my support in my exile; therefore, I adjure you.”

Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the forty-second mentioned is Asher. Asher means “happy.” This week is also connected to Rosh, son of Benjamin, whose name means “head,” a reference to how Joseph was Benjamin’s superior. When Mashiach comes and the Temple is rebuilt, this week will be one of happiness, one in which we will feel like a “head” and not a “tail.” Both Asher and Rosh contain the same letters, Reish and Shin, just in reverse. With the slightest of variations, these letters spell Rash, poor. These weeks tend to be difficult times as well.

Daf Mem Beit (Folio 42) of Shevuoth continues to discuss the repayment of loans. It discusses the case of someone who is established as a liar, as well as questionable documents, and other cases of breaches of trust. Again, this is related to the 17th of Tammuz, in which payment is exacted for our spiritual “debts.”
Chapter 42 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. The chapter mentions faithfulness and G-d’s help during exile.

5. And they said to Jeremiah, "May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not do according to the entire matter that the Lord your God shall send you to us. 
6. Whether good or bad, we will hearken to the voice of the Lord our God, to Whom we are sending you, in order that it be good for us, for we will hearken to the voice of the Lord our God.


10. If you dwell in this land, I will build you up and I will not pluck you up, for I have repented of the evil that I have done to you. 

11. Fear not the king of Babylon whom you fear; fear it not, says the Lord, for I am with you to redeem you and to save you from his hand.

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