Weekly Cycle

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Week 43 (Book 3): Facing Esau (Edom)

BESHALACH: 33. And Moses said to Aaron, Take one jug and put there an omerful of manna, and deposit it before the Lord to be preserved for your generations. 34. As the Lord had commanded Moses, Aaron deposited it before the testimony to be preserved. 

HAFTORAH: dyed garments of embroidery for the neck of the spoiler.' So may perish all Your enemies, O Lord; but they that love Him (should be) as the sun when he goes forth in his might."

TALMUD SOTAH: DAF 43 – Pinchas, Mashuach Milchamah


SEVEN CANA’ANITE NATIONS: Chittites         

Week 43 is the week of Rosh Chodesh Av, and begins the more intense part of the Three Weeks. Rosh Chodesh Av is the yahrzeit of Aharon, one of the few yahrzeit dates specifically mentioned in the Torah. The Torah section for this week is the first one to mention Aharon since the week of the yahrzeit Moshe, in Adar. Here again the focus is on the preservation of the omer, which, as previously explained, is connected to the times of Jeremiah and the destruction of the Temple.

The Haftorah verses once again speak of the enemy dividing spoils. Devorah then switches directions, praying that this shall be the fate of G-d’s enemies. This is similar to Av, which is to be transformed from being a month connected to Jewish suffering, to be one of Jewish triumph. Devorah sings that those that love Him should be as the sun when it goes forth in its might – Av is the hottest summer month – and the sun is usually associated with the gentile nations, not the Jewish people, who are associated with the moon. Devorah is hinting at the transformation of Jacob into Israel, who also represents the sun. (See Likutei Moharan)

Daf Mem Gimmel (Folio 43) of Sotah speaks of Pinchas as the Mashuach Milchamah in the war against Midian. The daf also discusses the cases of those people that are exempt from fighting a milchemet reshut, an non-mandatory war, and is devoted primarily to the case of a man that planted a vineyard and had not redeemed its fruit. The discussion of Pinchas could not be more appropriate for this week, since he is a Kohen (grandson of Aharon), and is connected to Mashiach (born on Tisha B’Av) both by being a Mashuach Milchamah in the last battle described in the Torah as well as being the same person as Eliyahu HaNavi (who will accompany Mashiach). Furthermore, the daf discusses how he is a descendant of Joseph. The Torah makes clear that it is the strength of Joseph that is able to defeat Esau. Pinchas appears to be the ultimate archetype of Mashiach ben Yosef. 

Amaziah the son of Yehoash began his kingship being very righteous, and his righteousness earned him a tremendous victory again none other than Edom (Esau). (See Book 1, Week 43, about how this week is related to Edom) His treatment of the Edomites is particularly severe. Amaziah’s counterparts in Israel were Jehoahaz (3 years), Jehoash (16 years), Jeroboam ben Jehoash (10 years). Amaziah’s victory against Edom led to haughtiness as well as idolatry, and he ends up being castigated by his own brother Amoz, the father of the prophet Isaiah. Amaziah’s haughtiness leads to a disastrous war against the King of Israel, Jehoash. Because of this loss, Jerusalem itself is looted, and even Amaziah himself is taken captive. Again, the destruction of Jerusalem is the main theme of this week. Another theme is sinat chinam (baseless hatred).

The forty-third week is connected to conquering the Chittites. The word “Chittites” comes from the word Chet, which means sin. The Chittites are connected to the negative side of Chesed, which expresses itself primarily in improper sexual relations. An example of such behavior is the story of David and Batsheva, who was married to Uriah HaChiti, Uriah the Chittite. Esau himself married two different Chittites (“Judith, the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon the Hittite”) and made life bitter for Isaac and Rebeccah. (Genesis 26:34-35)

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