Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Nisan - re'iya; Iyar - shemiya; Sivan - the pairing of both

I hate to disappoint the lomuds fans, but I want to finish the discussion of the dichotomy between re’iya and shemiya as reflected in Nisan/Iyar. The Shem m’Shmuel ties these two forces to the month’s mazalos. The mazal of Nisan is the t’leh, the lamb. The lamb follows the shepard wherever the shepherd leads; Bnei Yisrael lovingly followed Hashem’s lead into the desert during Yetziyas Mitzrayim. A lamb cannot be burdened or used as a pack animal, but is simply fed in its pasture, used only for milk and wool. Bnei Yisrael at the moment of Yetziyas Mitzrayim was unprepared for the burdens of Torah and mitzvos and were culturally little different from the Egyptians who enslaved them. It was only G-d’s love for the Jewish people which spared us.

The mazal of Iyar is a shor, an ox, a beast of burden. The miracles of Yetziyas Mitzrayim were a window on what could be accomplished, but it was now up to Bnei Yisrael to give their attention to their own development by preparing to bear the yoke of Torah.

Finally, the month of Sivan is the mazal of teumim, twins. The Shem m’Shmuel explains this mazal based on a Midrashic reading of “yanasi tamasi” not as the simple, pure dove, but as the dove which is “teumasi”, my twin. Bnei Yisrael can come so close to G-d as to seem a twin to the Divine presence.

The point I wanted to make is that I don’t know why the Shem m’Shmuel did not follow through with his re’iya/shemiya dichotomy to explain teumim as the twinning of these two ideas. Perhaps this is the notion of “ro’im es hakolos” that was experienced at Har Sinai – the simultaneous experience of re’iya and shemiya at once. Meaning, there was at Har Sinai a culmination of our preparation as well as a commitment to further “nishma” along with na’asah, but at the same time, there was an overwhelming experience of hisgalus that transcended what human preparedness could encompass.

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