Weekly Cycle

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Week 45 (Book 5): Our Enduring Love for G-d, Regardless of the Circumstances

SONG OF SONGS: 7. Many waters cannot quench the love, nor can rivers flood it; should a man give all the property of his house for love, they would despise him.


TALMUD SHEVUOTH: Daf 45 – Oaths of workers.


Week 45 in the Jewish calendar is the week of Tu B’Av, the happiest (along with Yom Kippur) and most romantic day in the Jewish calendar. The verse of Shir HaShirim for this week speaks of unquenchable love, that rivers cannot flood. Even despite all the suffering, we come back to G-d; all the destruction cannot quench our desire for Hashem; as Rashi notes, we are willing to give away everything for our love for G-d.

Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the forty-fifth mentioned is Ishvi. Ishvi also comes from the word Leshavot, relating to the concept of settling one’s heart. The difference between Ishvah (last week) and Ishvi (this week) is simply the additional letters Heh and Yud respectively. These two letters form G-d’s name, and are also those that differentiate the word Ish (male) and Ishah (female). The names Ishvi and Ishva also seem related to the words Ish and Ishah, although their names do not contain an Aleph. This week is also connected to Ard, the last son of Benjamin, whose name is related to a rose, which also has romantic connotations.
Daf Mem Heh (Folio 45) of Shvuoth continues the discussion of oaths taken to receive payment, as well as an oath of a worker. An oath of a worker only is effective in a case where it is known that he was hired in the first place. The Jewish people are Hashem’s workers. We never abandoned that status and never will, regardless of the circumstances we must endure.
Chapter 45 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. The chapter speaks of Baruch son of Neriah. G-d rebukes him for being upset about not receiving prophecy. In the midst of such calamity and destruction, he should not think of himself. Rather, he should be grateful that he was saved from such destruction.

2. So said the Lord God of Israel concerning you, Baruch:  

3. You said, "Woe is to me now, for the Lord has added grief to my pain. I have become weary with my sighing, but I have found no rest." 

Rashi - but I have found no rest: The Shechinah has not rested upon me to prophesy...

4. So shall you say to him, So said the Lord: Behold what I have built I will tear down, and what I planted I will uproot, and it is all the land. 

5. And you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek, for behold I am bringing evil upon all flesh, says the Lord, and I will give you your soul as prey in all the places where you will go.

Baruch was on a very high level, and therefore a great deal more was expected from him. The lesson, however, remains: no matter the circumstances, we must have faith that all that we have endured over the years is ultimately for the very best.

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