Weekly Cycle

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Week 48 (Book 3): Manasseh and Asking Hashem to Forget

BESHALACH: 7. He named the place Massah [testing] and Meribah [quarreling] because of the quarrel of the children of Israel and because of their testing the Lord, saying, Is the Lord in our midst or not? 8. Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim.  
TANACH VERSES FOLLOWING THE HAFTORAH: 8. that the Lord sent a prophet to the children of Israel, and he said to them, "Thus says the Lord, G-d of Israel; I brought you up from Egypt, and I brought you out of the house of bondage. 9. And I saved you from the hand of Egypt, and from the hand of all your oppressors; and I drove them out from before you, and I have given you their land.
TALMUD SOTAH: DAF 48 – Reforms of Yochanan Kohen Gadol

Week 48 is the second week of Elul, also including a day of Rosh Chodesh. Because of the people’s quarreling and testing of Hashem, doubting whether Hashem was in their midst, Amalek came and fought against them. (See Book 1, on how the scorpion in week 48 represents the coldness of Amalek) This ultimately brought them to cry out to G-d and battle against Amalek’s G-dlessness.
The Tanach verses for this week include G-d sending the people a prophet in response to their crying out to Him. Because the people in the times of Gideon cried for mercy, G-d responded with mercy and reassurance.
Daf Mem Chet (Folio 48) of Sotah describes the reforms made by Yochanan Kohen Gadol. The daf also describes a prohibition against singing after the destruction of the Temple, the loss of Ruach HaKodesh, and various spiritual declines since the Temple was destroyed and the Sanhedrin abolished. A general theme again the incredible need for teshuvah.
King Menasseh, the son of Hezekiah, was extremely evil and fell deeply into idolatry. Worse, he led the people of Judah to perform idolatry as well. However, after King Menasseh was taken captive a tortured, he did sincere teshuvah, and when he returned to the throne he acknowledged Hashem and tried to bring the people back. Menashe means to “forget.” In Elul, we ask Hashem to “forget” our inappropriate behavior throughout the year.
The forty-eighth week is connected to conquering the Chivites. Their name appears to come from the Aramaic word for snake: Chiviah. The Chivites are connected to the negative side of Yesod: being self-centered and overly concerned with one’s own pleasures. General, the perfecting of the sefirah of Yesod involves the control of one’s sexual impulses, exemplified by Yosef HaTzadik.

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