Weekly Cycle

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Week 43 (Book 5): Holding On Through the Birthpangs of Mashiach

SONG OF SONGS: 5. "Who is this coming up from the desert, embracing her beloved?" "Under the apple tree I aroused you; there your mother was in travail with you; there she that bore you was in travail."



TALMUD SHEVUOTH: Daf 43 – Guardians Who Are Exempt from Payment and the Loss of a Security.


Week 43 in the Jewish calendar is the week of Rosh Chodesh Av. This is a difficult period in the Jewish year, and also the week of the yahrzeit of Aharon. The verse of Shir HaShirim of this week speaks of the Jewish people holding on strongly to Hashem (under an apple tree) (This 22-day period is connected to the apple (Tapuach), and the Tapuach’s song is from Shir HaShirim, See Book 6). It also speaks of the travail of the Jewish people, its birthpangs. This week’s themes – the proximity to G-d symbolized by Aharon, but also the difficulty of these days, associated with the birthpangs of Mashiach.

Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the forty-third mentioned is Imnah. Imnah appears related to the word Yemin, right, or right hand. It is a reference to Hashem’s great might, with which He redeemed us at the time of the Exodus. Although, during these day throughout history, we have experienced Hashem’s might “against” us, in the future, it will be in Av that Mashiach will be born and we will experience an even greater redemption, and witness even greater might.
Imnah also appears to come from the word Limnot, “to count.” This week is also connected to Muppim, son of Benjamin, whose name is a reference to Joseph’s exceeding beauty. It was Aharon’s job to count the Jewish people with Moshe, focusing on their good points, their strength and their beauty.
Daf Mem Gimmel (Folio 43) of Shvuot discusses cases when a shomer (guardian) is exempt from paying, how claims must be quantified, and what happens when a security is lost. This seems relate to the above, related perhaps to Aharon as a guardian of the Jewish people, who “quantified” (counted) them in the desert. It also appears related to the loss of the “security” G-d entrusted to us, the Temple, which took place during this time of the year.
Chapter 43 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. The chapter speaks of gathering all the people that had remained in the land. It also speaks of the interaction between the people and their guardian at the time - the prophet Jeremiah. However, the people did not listen to Jeremiah. Instead, they chose to listen to Johanan the son of Kareah, who gathered them and took them to Egypt.

4. And Johanan the son of Kareah and all the officers of the armies and all the people did not hearken to the voice of the Lord to dwell in the land of Judah.  

5. And Johanan the son of Kareah and all the officers of the armies took all the remnant of Judah that had returned from all the nations where they had been driven, to sojourn in the land of Judah, 

6. the men and the women and the children and the king's daughters and all the people whom Nebuzaradan the chief executioner had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch the son of Neriah. 

7. And they came to the land of Egypt, for they did not hearken to the voice of the Lord, and they came to Tahpanhes.

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