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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Week 30 (Book 5): Sered, Nets and Chains


SONG OF SONGS:
11. "I went down to the nut garden to see the green plants of the valley, to see whether the vine had blossomed, the pomegranates were in bloom.                       
12. I did not know; my soul made me chariots for a princely people."                   
1. "Return, return, O Shulammite; return, return, and let us gaze upon you." "What will you see for the Shulammite, as in the dance of the two camps?

GENERATIONS FROM ADAM TO THE LAST KING OF JUDAH: Sered

TALMUD SHEVUOTH: Daf 30 – Distancing oneself from falsehood, and communal oaths.

BOOK OF JEREMIAH: Chapter 30

Week 30 in the Jewish calendar is the last week of Nissan, which includes the yahrzeit of Yehoshua and Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. The first verse of Shir HaShirim for this week make reference to a nut garden, green plants, a vine and pomegranites. Rashi’s comments show these descriptions refer in large part to Torah scholarship and fulfillment of the commandments. Interestingly, Rashi also specifically mentions “teachers of the Misnah,” the Oral Torah transmitted from Moshe to Yehoshua, and from Yehoshua to the elders and future generations.

Rashi also brings a second homilectic interpretation regarding the meaning of the nut garden: “Just as if this nut falls into the mud, its interior does not become sullied, so are the Israelites exiled among the nations and smitten with many blows, but their deeds are not sullied.” This is a very fitting description of the events of the Holocaust.

The second and third verses also speak of exile, specifically the Roman exile, which we are still presently in, and in which the Holocaust took place.

12. I did not know; my soul made me chariots for a princely people." 
Rashi - I did not know: The congregation of Israel laments: I did not know to beware of sin, that I should retain my honor and my greatness, and I erred in the matter of groundless hatred and controversy, which intensified during the reign of the Hasmonean kings, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, until one of them brought the kingdom of Rome and received the kingship from their hand and became their vassal, and since then, my soul made me to be chariots, that the nobility of other nations ride upon me.
The Second Temple was ultimately destroyed due to baseless hatred. Failure to learn the lessons from those events are what have kept us in exile until this day.

Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the thirtieth mentioned is Sered. A Sarad is a netmaker or maker of chains (Aruch). Yehoshua would capture and absorb every word of Moshe, just like a netmaker would capture fish. Yehoshua Bin Nun literally means, Joshua the son of a fish (a reference to Moshe himself). Chains are also an appropriate metaphor for this week, given the captivity we endured during the Holocaust.

Daf Lamed (Folio 30) of Shvuot starts a new chapter regarding an oath taken by a witness in a Jewish court. The daf discusses to whom this oath applies, rules regarding not favoring one party over another, and distancing oneself from falsehood. Much of this seems to apply to Yehoshua. There is also an emphasis on the collectivity of the Jewish people, with many verses referring to Am: "B'Tzedek Tishpot Amisecha" … "va'Yeshev Moshe... va'Ya'amod ha'Am.Yom HaShoah marks a time that was rife with falsehood, as well as a time when all Jews were collectively persecuted, regardless of religiosity, ethnicity or nationality.

Chapter 30 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. As many of the the other chapters in the Book, it speaks of the destruction and calamity that is to take place, but Rashi notes that it does not only refer to the destruction of the Temple and the Babylonian exile, but also of Gog and Magog. The words also make reference to pains that are like birth pangs (similar to the birth pangs leading up to the Messianic era (Chevlei Mashiach). Many believe that the Holocaust is to be considered Chevlei Mashiach. Also, different than in previous chapters, this one brings a silver lining, stating that unlike other nations, the Jewish people would not be completely destroyed.

5. For so said the Lord: A sound of quaking we have heard, fear, and there is no peace. 

Rashi: A sound of quaking we have heard: Some interpret this as alluding to the tidings of Babylon, from which those exiled there quaked. But the Midrash Aggadah explains it as an allusion to the war of Gog and Magog.   

6. Ask now and see whether a male gives birth. Why have I seen every man [with] his hands on his loins like a woman in confinement, and every face has turned to pallor? 

Rashi: whether a male gives birth: Whether it is customary for males to give birth, so that labor pains should seize them like a woman in confinement...   
   
7. Ho! For that day is great, with none like it, and it is a time of distress for Jacob, through which he shall be saved.  

Rashi: that day: The day of the assassination of Belshazzar and the downfall of Babylon. Another explanation: the day of the downfall of Gog.    .

(…)

11. For I am with you, says the Lord, to save you, for I will make an end of all the nations where I dispersed you, but of you I will not make an end, but I will chasten you in measure, and I will not completely destroy you.
   
12. For so said the Lord: Your injury is painful, your wound grievous. 

13. No one deems your wound to be healed, you have no healing medicines. 

Rashi: to be healed: cure. No one thinks that you will have salvation.   

14. All your lovers have forgotten you, they do not seek you, for I have smitten you with the wound of an enemy, cruel chastisement, for the greatness of your iniquity; your sins are many. 




Sunday, May 24, 2015

Week 31 (Book 5): Strong and Praiseworthy


SONG OF SONGS: 
2. How fair are your feet in sandals, O daughter of nobles! The curves of your thighs are like jewels, the handiwork of a craftsman.
3. Your navel is [like] a round basin, where no mixed wine is lacking; your belly is [like] a stack of wheat, fenced in with roses.
4. Your two breasts are like two fawns, the twins of a gazelle.

SEVENTY SOULS THAT DESCENDED TO EGYPT: Elon

TALMUD SHEVUOTH: Daf 31 – Distancing Oneself  from Falsehood and Liability for False Oaths

BOOK OF JEREMIAH: Chapter 31

Week 31 in the Jewish calendar is the week of Rosh Chodesh Iyar, Yom HaZikaron and of Yom Ha’Atzma’ut. The verses of Shir HaShirim of this week all relate to praises made by the other nations towards the Jewish people. It speaks of how they want to cleave to the Jews. This seems so rare and out of context, and yet that is exactly what happened after Yom Ha’Atzma’ut. For the first time in a long time, the Jews were widely admired. This admiration, which started in great part in 1948, continues until this day.

It is interesting that Rashi notes that while the Jewish people praised G-d from top to bottom, beginning with the head, the praises of non-Jews to the Jewish people are from bottom to top, beginning with the feet. The initial praises after Israel’s War of Independence related to its deeds, military might, associated with the feet.

The third verse for this week also appears to be a reference to Iyar, as it speaks of “twins of a gazelle,” perhaps a reference to Yissachar and Zebulun, whose partnership was like that of twins.

Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the thirty-first mentioned is Elon. Elon means oak tree. Oak trees are particularly majestic, large, strong and enduring. Elon Moreh is another name for Shechem. As explained in Week 1 of Book 2, Shechem is the first place visited by Avraham, Yaakov, as well as Yehoshua when entering the Land of Israel. Even in modern times, the first settlement established in Judea and Samaria after the Six Day War was Elon Moreh, which is another biblical name for the city Shechem. Shechem is the gateway to the Land of Israel. Therefore, it is appropriate that Elon be mentioned this week.

Daf Lamed Alef (Folio 31) of Shvuot continues to discuss matters regarding an oath taken by a witness in a Jewish court and staying away from false mattes. It also discusses people that are excluded from liability for a court oath. It discusses cases when mistakes were by accident or on purpose (Shogeg uMezid). The return to the Land of Israel is often discussed in Jewish law in the context of three oaths made by the Jewish people during exile, one of which was not to return to Israel by force. There is much debate on whether the Jews indeed violated this oath by returning to the land, and if so, given the context in which it took place, whether they could be “liable” for it.[1] Almost all opinions deem that returning to the Land was not a violation.

Chapter 31 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. It speaks of openly of a time when the Jewish people would be able to return to its land, to build and be built:

1. So says the Lord: In the wilderness, the people who had escaped the sword found favor; He [therefore] went to give Israel their resting place.  

2. From long ago, the Lord appeared to me; With everlasting love have I loved you; therefore have I drawn you to Me with loving-kindness.  

3. Yet again will I rebuild you, then you shall be built, O virgin of Israel; yet again shall you be adorned with your tabrets, and you shall go out with the dances of those who make merry.  

4. Yet again shall you plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria, indeed planters shall plant [them] and redeem [them].  

5. For there is a day, the watchers shall call on the mountains of Ephraim; Rise! Let us go up to Zion, to the Lord, our God.  

6. For so says the Lord to Jacob, "Sing [with] joy and shout at the head of the nations, make it heard, praise, and say, 'O Lord, help Your people, the remnant of Israel!'

7. Behold I bring them from the north country and gather them from the uttermost ends of the earth, the blind and the lame amongst them, the woman with child and she who travails with child all together; a great company shall they return there.  

8. With weeping will they come, and with supplications will I lead them, along brooks of water will I make them go, on a straight road upon which they will not stumble, for I have become a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.  

9. Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it on the islands from afar, and say, "He Who scattered Israel will gather them together and watch them as a shepherd his flock.  

10. For the Lord has redeemed Jacob and has saved him out of the hand of him who is stronger than he. 

11. And they shall come and jubilate on the height of Zion, and they will stream to the goodness of the Lord, over corn, wine, and oil, and over sheep and cattle, and their soul shall be like a well-watered garden, and they shall have no further worry at all.

12. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the round dance with music, and the young men and the old men together, and I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and make them rejoice from their sorrow.  

13. And I will refresh the soul of the priests with fat, and My people-they will be satisfied with My goodness, is the word of the Lord. 

14. So says the Lord: A voice is heard on high, lamentation, bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, she refuses to be comforted for her children for they are not.  

15. So says the Lord: Refrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for there is reward for your work, says the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.  

16. And there is hope for your future, says the Lord, and the children shall return to their own border.  






[1] http://www.kby.org/hebrew/torat-yavneh/view.asp?id=3970

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Week 32 (Book 5): Securing Our Connection to the Land in the Face of the Enemy


SONG OF SONGS:
5. Your neck is like an ivory tower; your eyes are [like] pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-Rabbim; your face is as the tower of Lebanon, facing towards Damascus.
6. Your head upon you is like Carmel, and the braided locks of your head are like purple; the king is bound in the tresses.
7. How fair and how pleasant you are, a love with delights!

SEVENTY SOULS THAT DESCENDED TO EGYPT: Jahleel

TALMUD SHEVUOTH: Daf 32 - Liability for Oaths

BOOK OF JEREMIAH: Chapter 32

Week 32 in the Jewish calendar continues to be connected to Yom Ha’Atzma’ut. The verses of Shir HaShirim of this week also relate to praises made by the other nations towards the Jewish people. There are also many references to places in the region, where unfortunately many came to attack us: Heshbon (in Jordan), Lebanon, Damascus…

Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the thirty-second mentioned is Jahleel. Jahleel means to wait for, to yearn for G-d. Yachel also contains the language of forgiveness, as well as nullification and desecration. Week 32 of Book 1 shows that this week is deeply connected to how other nations will finally acknowledge Israel after so many years. The week, related to Bilaam, is represented by the mule in Perek Shirah. Bilaam was trying to nullify the oath made by G-d to Abraham – he was, in many ways, the “anti-Abraham.” It is also related to the heart (32 is Lev). We yearn for Hashem with all our hearts and to return to our land, and in so doing, G-d nullifies those that fight against our connection to the Land of Israel.

Daf Lamed Beit (Folio 32) of Shevuoth continues to discuss cases in which people that are excluded from liability for a court oath. This again is related to the three oaths mentioned last week.

Chapter 32 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. It again speaks openly of a time when the Jewish people would be able to return to its land, and the prophet Jeremiah himself is told to redeem his family’s portion of the Land by purchasing it:[1]

6. And Jeremiah said: The word of the Lord came to me, saying:  

7. Behold, Hanamel, the son of Shallum your uncle, is coming to you, saying: Buy for yourself my field that is in Anathoth, for the right of redemption is yours to buy it. 
   
(…)

12. And I gave the deed of the purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah the son of Maaseiah in the presence of Hanamel my uncle and in the presence of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, in the presence of all the Jews who sat in the prison yard.  

13. And I charged Baruch in their presence, saying: 

14. So said the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel; Take these scrolls, this deed of purchase and the signed one and this open scroll, and put them into an earthen vessel so that they remain many years.  

15. For so says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be purchased again in this land.

(...)

36. And now, therefore, so said the Lord God of Israel concerning this city which you say, "It has been given into the hand[s] of the king of Babylon by the sword and by famine and by pestilence"; 

37. Behold I will gather them from all the lands where I have driven them with My anger and with My wrath and with great fury, and I will restore them to this place and I will cause them to dwell safely. 

38. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God.  

39. And I will give them one accord and one way to fear Me all the time, so that it be good for them and for their children after them.  

40. And I will form for them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from them to do them good, and My fear I will place in their heart, not to turn away from Me. 

41. And I will rejoice over them to do good to them, and I will plant them in this land truly with all My heart and with all My soul. 

42. For so said the Lord: As I have brought upon this people all this great evil, so will I bring upon them all the good that I speak concerning them.  

43. And the field shall be bought in this land, which you say, "It is desolate without man or beast; it has been given into the hand[s] of the Chaldeans." 

44. Men shall buy fields for money and inscribe deeds and sign [them] and appoint witnesses in the land of Benjamin and in the environs of Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah and in the cities of the mountain and in the cities of the lowland and in the cities of the southland, for I will restore their captivity, says the Lord.






[1] This contains the Haftorah for the Torah portion of Behar which often falls on this week as well.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Week 33 (Book 5): The Tzadik

SONG OF SONGS: 
8. This, your stature, is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like clusters [of dates].
9. I said: Let me climb up the palm tree, let me seize its boughs, and let your breasts be now like clusters of the vine and the fragrance of your countenance like [that of] apples.

70 SOULS THAT DESCENDED TO EGYPT: Dinah and Asenath daughter of Poti-phera Chief of On.

TALMUD SHEVUOTH; Daf 33 - Becoming exempt from liability because of the action of others

BOOK OF JEREMIAH: Chapter 33

Week 33 in the Jewish calendar is the week of Lag Ba’Omer. We effectively enter into a new period in the counting of the omer, in which most people stop all signs of mourning. The verses of Shir HaShirim of this week also change focus. Rashi states: “Until this point, the nations praise Him. From here on are the words of the Shechinah to reveal Israel, who are among the nations.” Lag Ba’Omer is a day of tremendous revelation – the day of the Tzadik Yesod Olam, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. The verses include many references to the date-palm tree, the Tamar. The Tamar is the ultimate metaphor for the upright Tzadik Yesod Olam (the vav, which represents the sefirah of Yesod, is also upright). In Perek Shirah, the verse of the Tamar is, “Tzadik KaTamar Yifrach, K’Erez BaLevanon Yizgueh.” The verses also mention the vine, a reference to the hidden Torah, and a reference to the fragrance of apples, which is the fragrance of Gan Eden, (known to be like an apple orchard).
           
Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the thirty-third mentioned is Dinah, the last one directly descended from Leah. From this week on, we also start counting the descendants of Rachel, starting with Joseph’s family. The first one listed (other than Rachel, Joseph, and Binyamin, left for the end) is Joseph’s wife, Asenath daughter of Poti-phera Chief of On, which the Midrash teaches is in fact Dinah’s daughter.

The lesson of the Counting of the Omer and Lag Ba’Omer is all about love and respect for one another. Dinah is the ultimate example of this love. Leah foresaw that Dinah was originally going to be a boy. She prayed that she be turned into a girl, so that Rachel too could merit having to male children, founders of tribes of Israel.

Similarly, Asenath, daughter of Dinah (from Leah), and mother of Efraim and Menasheh (from Joseph son of Rachel) also represents this union and love.  Efraim and Menashe are the ultimate link between the two sides of the Jewish people; Rachel and Leah, Yehudah and Yosef. It is interesting that Jacob states that these two will be “like Reuven and Shimon” to him. (heard from my father-in-law, Raul Wainer)

Dinah endured so much suffering. Yet, she too is ultimately ultimately redeemed, marrying Shimon and having her daughter marry Joseph. Dinah means judgement, strictness. Yet, the “Hey” in the end of her name adds an element of mercy. Asenath is also related to harsh emotions: “And Dinah gave birth to a daughter and named her Asenat, saying, `To my woe did I bear her for Shechem the son of Chamor who had taken me by force to his house’” (Midrash Esther).[1] Her name also has a Heh added to it, since she is not called Bat Potiphar, but rather Bat Potipherah.

Daf Lamed Gimmel (Folio 33) of Shvuot continues to discuss cases in which people that are excluded from liability for a court oath, particularly when there are two pairs of witnesses. There is a long discussion regarding liability for fines, as well as a discussion regarding claiming on behalf of someone else, and that oaths only apply to monetary claims. Lag Ba'Omer is a day in which we celebrate how the merit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and his son, Rabbi Elazar, spared the whole world of judgement. In Rabbi Shimon's days there was never a rainbow in the sky. The rainbow is a reminder to us of Hashem's oath never to destroy the world again - such a sign was unnecessary in the times of Rabbi Shimon. Interestingly, one of the main principles put forth in this daf involves an opinion by Rabbi Elazar son of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. The following daf also starts with words from Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

Chapter 33 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. It speaks of joy after desolation, purification from sin. It also contains messianic themes connected to the House of David and the Kohanim (Lag Ba’Omer is Hod shebeHod), and even contains the idea of counting. Iyar is known as a month of healing, and Lag Ba’Omer known as a day of festivities, such as for weddings.

6. Behold, I will bring it healing and cure, and I will cure them, and I will reveal to them a greeting of peace and truth.
   
7. And I will return the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel, and build them up like at first.

8. And I will purify them of all their iniquity that they sinned against Me, and I will forgive all their iniquities that they sinned against Me and that they rebelled against Me.  

9. And it shall be to Me for a name of joy, for praise and for glory to all the nations of the earth who will hear all the good that I do for them and fear and tremble because of all the good and because of all the peace that I do for it.

10. So said the Lord: There shall again be heard in this place, concerning which you say, "It is desolate without man and without beast," in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate without a man and without an inhabitant and without a beast,  

11. the sound of mirth and the sound of joy, the voice of a bridegroom and the voice of a bride, the sound of those saying, "Thank the Lord of Hosts, for the Lord is good, for His loving-kindness endures forever," bringing a thanksgiving offering to the House of the Lord, for I will restore the captivity of the land as at first, said the Lord.  

12. So said the Lord of Hosts: There shall again be in this place that is waste without man or beast, and in all its cities a dwelling of shepherds resting [their] flocks. 

13. In the cities of the mountain, in the cities of the lowland, and in the cities of the Negev and in the land of Benjamin and in the environs of Jerusalem and in the cities of Judah, flocks shall again pass under the hands of one who counts them, said the Lord.

14. Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, and I will establish the good thing that I spoke concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 

15. In those days and in that time I will cause to grow for David a plant of righteousness, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 

16. In those days, Judah shall be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell securely and this is the name that He shall call it, the Lord is our righteousness. 

17. For so said the Lord: There shall not be cut off from David a man sitting on the throne of the house of Israel.  

18. And of the Levitic priests, there shall not be cut off from before Me a man offering up a burnt offering, or burning a meal-offering or performing a sacrifice for all time.


---

Following the division of three verses of Shir HaShirim per week:

[8. This, your stature, is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like clusters [of dates].
9. I said: Let me climb up the palm tree, let me seize its boughs, and let your breasts be now like clusters of the vine and the fragrance of your countenance like [that of] apples.
10. And your palate is like the best wine, that glides down smoothly to my beloved, making the lips of the sleeping speak."

Verse 10 speaks of revelation, like that of Lag Ba'omer:

The verses of Shir HaShirim of this week also focus on wine, which is a metaphor for the inner secrets of the Torah. Those secrets are what gave life to the Jewish people in difficult times when they were spiritually asleep, bringing them back to life, making their “lips speak.” This is very much related to Lag Ba’Omer and the inner secrets of the Kabbalah revealed by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, as discussed in the previous week. It also appears connected to the healing qualities of the month of Iyar.





[1] http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/impact-women-history/dinah%e2%80%99s-daughter-a-vital-link/2011/12/08/

Monday, May 4, 2015

Week 34 (Book 5): Healing and Rabbi Shimon's "Wine"


SONG OF SONGS:
10. And your palate is like the best wine, that glides down smoothly to my beloved, making the lips of the sleeping speak."

SEVENTY SOULS THAT DESCENDED TO EGYPT: Gad and Menasheh

TALMUD SHEVUOTH: Daf 34 – Oaths Taken Under Different Circumstances

BOOK OF JEREMIAH: Chapter 34

Week 34 in the Jewish calendar is the last week of Iyar. As noted in Book 1, it represents the journey from Yaacov to Yisrael that started in Nissan and ends in Iyar, as we approach the giving of the Torah on Shavuot.

The verses of Shir HaShirim of this week also focus on wine, which is a metaphor for the inner secrets of the Torah. Those secrets are what gave life to the Jewish people in difficult times when they were spiritually asleep, bringing them back to life, making their “lips speak.” This is very much related to Lag Ba’Omer and the inner secrets of the Kabbalah revealed by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, as discussed in the previous week. It also appears connected to the healing qualities of the month of Iyar.
           
Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the thirty-fourth mentioned is Gad, son of Zilpah. It is also connected with Menasheh, son of Joseph. Gad was known as a fierce warrior, and his name means “(good) luck.” Menashe’s name has at its root the verb “to forget,” a reference of Joseph “forgetting” the hardships of his past. Menashe also means to sustain, as Menashe was Joseph main assistant in sustaining Egypt and running the affairs of the empire. Again, there’s a connection to the healing qualities of Iyar, and the journey from hardship to strength and relative independence (See Book 1).

Daf Lamed Dalet (Folio 34) of Shvuoth continues to discuss the issue of oaths that only apply to monetary claims. It also discusses witnesses that did not see or know the facts, and deriving laws of oaths for a pikadon (gift) from the laws of court oaths. The overall theme appears again to be to be the journey from being in a poor and weak position, to one of strength and order. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai is by far the most quoted rabbi on this daf, from beginning to end.  

Chapter 34 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. It speaks of going from being a slave to be free, in the seven-year cycle of Sabbatical years.

8. The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were in Jerusalem, to proclaim freedom to them;  
   
9. That every man should let his manservant and every man his maidservant, a Jew and a Jewess go free, that none should hold his Jewish brother as a slave.  

10. Now all the princes and all the people who had entered into the covenant hearkened that every one should let his manservant and everyone his maidservant go free, no longer holding them in slavery; then they obeyed and let them go. 

11. But afterwards they turned and brought back the manservants and the maidservants whom they had let free, and forcibly made them into manservants and maidservants.  

12. Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying:

13. So says the Lord God of Israel; I made a covenant with your fathers on the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slaves, saying: 

14. "At the end of seven years you shall let go every man his brother Jew who has been sold to you, and when he has served you for six years you shall let him go free from you"; but your forefathers did not obey Me, nor did they incline their ear[s]. 

15. And now this day you turned and did what was right in My sight by proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbor, and you made a covenant before Me in the House upon which My Name is called.  

16. But then you turned and profaned My Name, and you took back, each man his manservant and each man his maidservant, whom you had let free to themselves, and forced them to be manservants and maidservants to you.  

17. Therefore, so says the Lord: You have not hearkened to Me to proclaim freedom, every one to his brother and every one to his neighbor; behold I proclaim freedom to you, says the Lord, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine, and I will make you an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.



---
Following three verses per week:

11. "I am my beloved's, and his desire is upon me.
12. Come, my beloved, let us go out to the field, let us lodge in the villages.
13. Let us arise early to the vineyards; let us see whether the vine has blossomed, the tiny grapes have developed, the pomegranates have lost their flowers; there I will give you my love.

These verses speak of closeness to G-d, "His desire is upon me." The tiny grapes that have developed and are now ready to give (and receive) Hashem's love at Mt. Sinai.
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