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Friday, June 10

The Weekly Shtikle - Bemidbar / Shavuos

Although I am only covering Shavous in the shtikle, please explore the many intriguing blog posts on Bemidbar below:

Just a couple of quick, cute thoughts on Shavuos as it falls out this year:

It is interesting, but not terribly significant, that the secular date for the second day of Shavuos is June 13 which, on this side of the world, is commonly expressed as 6/13. This doesn't happen too often but isn't terribly rare either. It happened 11 years ago (on the first day) and will reoccur in another 8 years from now.

Shavuos also happens to coincide this year with the Daf Yomi cycle beginning maseches Bava Kama. We have discussed previously the gemara (Pesachim 68) which discusses how one is to conduct himself on yom tov. One opinion is to either devote the whole day to HaShem (in prayer and learning etc.) or the whole day to one's self (eating etc.)  The other is that yom tov is to be split in half, half to HaShem and half to one's self. However, on Shavuos, everyone agrees that we require devotion to one's self because it is the day that the Torah was given to Bnei Yisrael.

The opening mishnah enumerates various forms of monetary damage and includes a strange word – mav'eh. Rav maintains it refers to damages caused by humans while Shmuel insists it refers to an animal's destruction by way of eating, referred to as shein, the tooth. Shmuel delivers a proof from a pasuk which uses the same root as mav'eh to denote something which is revealed just as an animal's teeth are revealed while it chews. Rav's support comes from a passage in Yeshayah (21:12). The literal meaning there is "to seek," and is referring to Man who ought to be seeking repentance before the end of days, per Rashi's explanation. We also find the same root referring to prayer as in targum to Bereishis 48:22. So this mysterious word is in fact interpreted loosely to encompass the two avenues we have to fulfill our ritual obligations on yom tov. We have the lachem of shein, eating, and the other means by which man seeks HaShem, referring to the laShem option.

Have a good Shabbos and Chag Samei'ach!

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Al Pi Cheshbon: No Population Increase
Al Pi Cheshbon: Tens and Ones by Ari Brodsky
Al Pi Cheshbon: Rounded Numbers
Al Pi Cheshbon: Pidyon HaBen Probability
Dikdukian: Be or Ba?
Dikdukian: Discussions on Bemidbar by Eliyahu Levin
Dikdukian: Letzeis and On top of Old Smokey

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