1. Shabbos Mevarchim connects the outgoing month with the new month ahead through the blessings pronounced in the ‘Blessing for the New Moon.’ It is self-evident that the blessings transmitted from Shabbos Mevarchim should be congruous with the theme of the two months. In our case the month which bestows the blessing is Nissan while the month being blessed is Iyar. This projection of blessing places the preceding month in the role of Mashpia. Chassidus explains that everything in existence functions in the system of giver and recipient (Mashpia and Mekabel). The reason for this is because the functions of benefactor and beneficiary exist in the Jewish people and since the world was created for the Jewish people, the world must have in it those components which are manifest in the raison d’etre of creation — the world must also function in a pattern of giver and receiver.

On this subject the Midrash relates:

Dovid said: L‑rd of the universe, make Your world evenly balanced, as it says: ‘Let the world be made equal before G‑d’ (Tehillim 61:8). G‑d replied: If I balance My world, then love and truth, who will practice them. (Shmos Rabbah 31:5)

If everyone will be rich or everyone poor there will be no opportunities for the rich to help the poor by giving charity. Dovid’s argument had been, why should we have to receive from others, why should not everyone receive the benevolence directly from the Holy One blessed be He. Actually, this is what every Jew hopes and prays for:

L‑rd our G‑d, please do not make us dependent upon gifts of mortal men nor upon their loans, but only upon Your full, open, holy and generous hand. (Siddur)

Therefore Dovid’s question: ‘Why G‑d, did you work it out that the poor must receive from the rich?!’

G‑d’s answer was that it is absolutely necessary for the world that there should be givers and receivers so that kindness should be bestowed. Dovid accepted this rationale and it became part of the eternal Torah. In Avos we learn that the world stands on acts of loving kindness. Since the world was created because of the Jews and they exemplify acts of kindness, clearly, benevolence is one of the foundations of the world.

This interaction of benefactor and beneficiary exists not only in broad general areas of existence but it also may be found in the specific details of existence. Just as we can know the elements of the sea by analyzing only one drop — for the whole ocean is represented in each drop — so, too, are the characteristics of general existence represented in the individual components of existence. This is true in space and matter and it is also true in time, in every moment and in each unit of time, such as a month.

For although time is one continuous expanse it is still divided into segments, a yovel of 50 years, seven shemitahs, seven years, 12 months, and a month of 29 or 30 days, the day is then divided into hours and so on.

In each of these time units we may find the aspect of giver and receiver, but since the two manifest different characteristics it is obvious that the different facets apply at different points in the month. At the beginning of the month it receives from the earlier month, and at the end it projects its own benevolence to the next month.

In the process of bestowal there are different degrees. For example, we find variations among instructors of Torah:

Rabbi Meir...he went to R. Yishmael and from him learned Gemara (all the Mishnayos from past generation which he taught without much explanation). After having studied with him, he returned to R. Akiva whose reasoning he was then able to grasp (he then studied the reasons and logical rationale for the Mishnayos; what was their basic principles and where they were derived from: Rashi). (Sotah 20a)

Clearly, R. Meir studied under different sages because they had different ways of teaching and he needed the various approaches.

Similarly, there were different characteristics among the students, as described for us in Avos regarding the five disciples of R. Yochanan ben Zakkai. The five types of students represented five different groups of students.

Consequently, we should also find that the blessing bestowed by the month of Nissan on the month of Iyar will be called by the theme of Nissan the benefactor and Iyar the beneficiary. These differences and variations are very real and present, even though the liturgy of the blessings is the same on each Shabbos Mevarchim.

We may draw an illustration to this concept from the inauguration sacrifices of the tribal princes which were all exactly alike, yet each was fully described by Scripture. The Midrash explains that each was unique because the Nasi who offered it had his own unique spiritual and ritual intentions and kavanos. Thus, the Torah considers each one individually and uniquely.

What was the theme of Nissan and Iyar?

The name ‘Nissan’ may be associated with miracles, as the Gemara indicates that the multiple letter ‘Nun’ points to multiple miracles. (see Berachos 57a)

The Midrash tells us that Nissan is the ‘month of redemption,’ and this redemption was associated with multiple miracles. Salvation may ofttimes come in a quasi-natural way and sometimes miracles are completely hidden in natural occurrences. Such was the case in the story of Purim, where the miraculous acts of G‑d were enclothed in a sequence of seemingly normal happenings.

In the Megillah all these interrelated events are juxtaposed and we can perceive the hand of G‑d at work moving the story along. But at that time the Jews of Persia and Media did not sense the miraculous nature of these events. In fact, they were spread over a period of several years, with many other vital occurrences taking place during that time. The people of that time did not even realize the connection of these events and only later, when the Megillah recorded all the salient happenings did they see how G‑d’s providence guided all that took place and the miracle was revealed.

In contrast, the redemption of Pesach was heralded and accompanied by supernatural wonders and multiple miracles, beyond the natural order of the world and other miraculous phenomena.

How does this relate to our Divine service? During Nissan the Jew is liberated from troubling and vexing problems. He rises above the limitations of the diaspora and attains a state of freedom. He experiences the theme of multiple miracles and transcends the obfuscation of the mundane world.

This condition is expressed in the custom of not saying the regular Tachanun (confessional prayers) during the entire month of Nissan. Normally, penitential prayers are very important, on Yom Kippur, the ‘unique day’ of the year, we devote much of the time to various confessional liturgy in all the prayers of the day.

Certainly, the month of Nissan (when we do not say Tachanun) does not lack the positive radiance of these prayers. Rather, because of its loftiness, the Nissan month automatically accomplishes the same and even higher results without the actual human recitation. This is congruous with the condition of redemption that permeates Nissan and raises all aspects of the Jew, in a miraculous way, all through the month.

And then, after the Divine service of the month of Nissan, we come to the month of Iyar — which is not ‘a month of redemption’ nor is it ‘completely holy in the manner of a holiday.’ What is the theme of Iyar.

A — In the name I’Y’A’R’ our sages tell us that we see the acrostic for ‘Ani Hashem Rofecho’ — ‘ I am G‑d who heals you.’ (Shmos 15:26). Clearly, Iyar allows a condition of illness which needs to be healed. This could never be in Nissan.

B — I’Y’A’R’ represents an acrostic for the four pedestals of the Supernal chariot: Avraham, Yitzchok, Yaakov and Rachel. The chariot is a separate entity from the rider, which would be analogous to a condition in Divine service of down to earth involvement — but at the same time it is subservient to the wishes of the driver. (In Nissan there is no place for down to earth involvement.)

The blessing of Nissan is transmitted to the month of Iyar on Shabbos Mevarchim. When Nissan comes to an end one might fear that the lofty state of salvation will be lost. Shabbos Mevarchim makes sure to project this freedom into Iyar so that even the ordinary days are permeated with geulah (redemption).

In practice, young and old, student and sage must be involved in this process and must bring this freedom into himself/herself.

This interaction will apply to both of the themes of Iyar mentioned above.

A — ‘I am G‑d who heals you.’ Should there be a condition of illness in Iyar, then, when the blessing of Nissan is drawn into Iyar the cure comes from G‑d — in a manner that: ‘I will not strike you with any of the sicknesses that I brought in Egypt.’ (Shmos 15:26) This means that right from the outset there will be no sickness.

The Ragochover Gaon explains that there are two types of cure, one which heals a person from the present into the future, and one which cures the person retroactively (no scar, vestige, or even memory of the malady remains after this type of cure — trans.). This retroactive healing emanates from the level of ‘I am G‑d who heals you,’ and the sickness disappears as if it never existed.

B — In the aspect of Iyar which represents the Supernal chariot, the blessing of Nissan will influence and assist the Divine service of the chariot to be involved in the world and yet at the same time to be essentially and radically unified with G‑dliness — just as a chariot is completely subservient to its driver. This, too, is a form of redemption.

There is also a connection between these concepts and the Torah portion of Shemini which we read this week.

In Shemini we read of the death of Nadav and Avihu (Aharon’s sons): ‘They offered it before G‑d...Fire came forth from before G‑d.’

The Ohr HaChayim HaKadosh explains the lofty state of Divine service practiced by Nadav and Avihu, of which Moshe exclaimed: ‘Now I see that they are greater than me and you.’ Their approach to G‑dliness was ‘close, cleaving, pleasant, sweet, friendship, to the point that their soul expired in longing.’ (Ohr HaChayim, beg. Acharei)

It was as a result of this tragedy that G‑d made clear His desire for human Divine service to aspire to self-nullification and subservience but not self-destruction and the expiation of the soul. G‑dliness must be drawn into the physical world and we must create a dwelling place for the Shechinah in this world. Thus, Shemini speaks of controlled spirituality and Shabbos Mevarchim Iyar brings the blessing of the spiritual into the physical world.

There is a well-known story of the Alter Rebbe and R. Avraham the Malach which sheds light on the concept of the chariot, symbolized by the name Iyar:

In the days when the Maggid of Mezritch was still alive, the Alter Rebbe was once about to leave Mezritch for home. As the Maggid’s son R. Avraham the Malach (‘The Angel’) was seeing him off, he said to the wagon driver: ‘One has to whip the horses until they stop being horses.’ (Or, according to another version, ‘...until they know that they are horses.’)

Hearing this the Alter Rebbe reacted by saying that he had now learned a new path in Divine service. He therefore deferred his departure and stayed on for some time in Mezritch. (Likkutei Dibburim I, ch. 2 sec. 25)

‘Horses’ alludes to the animal soul which must be refined and purified by ‘whipping.’ The goal is (a) to nullify the ‘horses’ and change them into non-equine beings; and (b) refine and influence the ‘horse’ so that it knows that it is a horse and that it should fulfill its purpose to travel to a certain place following the desire and will of the driver.

In all probability R. Avraham the Malach himself followed the path of Divine service that demanded the complete sublimation of the animal soul ‘...until they stop being horses.’ He was in fact called ‘the Angel’ because his route in serving G‑d followed a transcendental course — spiritual longing to the point of being aloof from the material world.

Normally, however, we must strive to purify and elevate our animal soul to exist and function in accordance with the desires and directives of the G‑dly soul. Just as a chariot exists as a separate entity but obediently follows the desire of the driver, in that sense it is completely subservient to the driver.

This is analogous to the Divine service of the month of Iyar — bringing the redemption into the limited world — not by eliminating the existence of the world through the path of multiple miracles, rather by bringing freedom into the framework of the corporeal world. This is the process of the chariot which is subject to the control of the driver.

Since Nissan is the first month of the year ‘...the head (primary) month, ...the first month of the year,’ (Shmos 12:2) it follows that every month of the year reflects some of these qualities. In Iyar they are more concentrated and manifest because it is the first month following Nissan.

As we approach the summer months another thought emerges.

Among the reasons given for studying Pirkei Avos on Shabbos afternoons during the summer months is the explanation that in the spring with the flowering of the trees and the renewal of nature all the forces of nature take on new strength and vigor. At the same time the human tendencies and bodily desires are also reawakened. For this reason the prudent Jew must gird himself with moral strength and rearm his ethical arsenal through studying Avos, which deals with ‘matters of piety.’

In our own country we see the phenomenon that immediately after Pesach, discussion begins on where to go in the resort areas for the summer. The ‘vacation mentality’ takes over and everyone begins to worry and get absorbed into pros and cons, and costs of the summer vacation.

By the mercy of G‑d, we are in a land of opportunity, abundance and freedom, so that by the grace of G‑d we have the ability to take it easy and travel to pleasant resort areas. We must, however, remember that when we take advantage of this opportunity of abundance it should be done in a manner that shows that the prime motivation is not to derive hedonistic pleasure from the physical world — rather the motivation should be for a loftier goal e.g. to improve one’s health to better serve G‑d. As the Gemara relates about R. Yehudah HaNasi who never lacked any of the necessities, and even pleasures, of the world, yet he used them not because they provided pleasure but only for their altruistic benefits, e.g. so that he should be healthy to better serve his Creator. So, too, in our case.

The blessing of Nissan as it filters into Iyar provides a source of strength for Iyar, and the rest of the summer as well — even as the physical world is emerging in its full bloom and strength the power of geulah will function in the world.

Here we must also introduce the aspect of joy which is described so graphically in this week’s Haftorah, how King Dovid ‘leaped and danced before the L‑rd.’ This approach to Divine service is praised by the Rambam as the best way to serve G‑d. In the month of Iyar this joy in Divine service must shine through with the full confidence that the redemption will come through without a hitch, for G‑d is the one who heals by preventing any sickness ‘Lechat’chilah Aribber.’

The abundant blessings of Nissan, together with the greater responsibilities it brings, must be channeled and utilized with special emphasis on reaching out to those Jews who are on the outside. As discussed earlier, the disparity between benefactor and beneficiary is a fact of life because G‑d wants the practice of kindness. This applies also in a spiritual sense. Why is one person poor in Torah knowledge? to give the opportunity to another Jew to teach him! Thus the existence of those ‘outside’ is because of those ‘inside.’

The Previous Rebbe once told the story that when he was on the ship returning from his visit to the Holy Land he suffered a kidney attack. On the ship at that time was a certain Dr. Wallach who treated him and nursed him back to health. Later, Dr. Wallach approached the Previous Rebbe and in a penitent mood asked the Rebbe for a path of repentance. He was sure that the attack occurred on the ship only because of the presence of the Dr.; if he had not been aboard he was sure that the Rebbe would have been well!

I do not know what the Previous Rebbe answered Dr. Wallach — but he did tell us the incident and we do see that there is place for such a rationale, that because there is a mashpia, that is why the recipient shows the need. How great then is our responsibility to those in need; we must help them because we are the cause of their deficiency.

May it be G‑d’s will that everyone should utilize the powers and blessings given on this Shabbos Mevarchim to accomplish the call of the hour in Iyar, the summer, the rest of the year, to bring G‑dliness into the framework of the world and create a dwelling place for the Shechinah.

And then may we merit the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach with our youth and elders, sons and daughters, a whole people with their gold and silver, their Torah and mitzvos — in the complete and expanded homeland — in a real and revealed way, speedily and truly in our time.

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2. This year Shabbos Mevarchim Iyar occurs on the 26th of Nissan. In Megillas Taanis we are told that the 26th of Nissan was a fast day because it was the day Yehoshua ben Nun died. The custom of fasting on the days designated in Megillas Taanis is no longer followed since the practices of Megillas Taanis are no longer binding (see Talmud, Taanis 18b).

The Rambam tells us that in the days of Mashiach all the fast days will be abolished and they will be celebrated as holidays. We may draw a parallel between that rule and the suspension of the fast of Yehoshua. We should emphasize the positive and good aspects which may be associated with Yehoshua’s death.

In general the death of the righteous is related to the aspect of atonement. As the Gemara relates:

Wherefore is the account of Miriam’s death placed next to the (laws of the) red heifer? To inform you that even as the red heifer afforded atonement [by the ritual use of its ashes], so does the death of the righteous afford atonement [for the living they have left behind]. (Moed Katan 28a)

In addition to the general rule, we may understand that each Tzaddik also introduces something unique into the world which will be his hallmark.

Yehoshua was the devoted disciple of Moshe, and he never left his side. He therefore merited to fill Moshe’s shoes and shepherd the Jewish people. We express this fact in Pirkei Avos when we say: ‘Moshe received the Torah from Sinai and passed it on to Yehoshua.’ He was the first to receive from Moshe. On the 26th of Nissan the day of his passing, Yehoshua passed on to the Elders that which he had received. We now see a connection between Yehoshua and the Elders, and the month of Nissan and Iyar, linked to the theme of giver and receiver which is evident on this Shabbos Mevarchim.

A common example used to illustrate the principle of giver and receiver is the sun and moon. The moon has no light of its own — it must receive from the sun. Our sages used this analogy for Moshe and Yehoshua:

The countenance of Moshe was like that of the sun; the countenance of Yehoshua was like that of the moon. (B. Basra 75a)

In general then we take from the 26th of Nissan the importance of the interplay between giver and receiver. Just as Yehoshua’s manner of receiving was total, which later made him the fitting leader of the Jewish people, and the replacement of Moshe in all matters; So, too, the same approach should govern all matters.

Yehoshua functioned in another area where Moshe had no direct input; the conquest of the Holy Land. In fact Yehoshua is called the ‘First of the Conquerors.’ (Esther Rabbah)

Moshe led the Jewish people in a supernatural manner under miraculous condition during the 40 years in the wilderness. In contrast, Yehoshua brought them into the land and led them through years of physical conquest and settlement into the natural and normal system of life in a homeland. Spiritually, they had to convert the land of the Canaanites — the lowest of levels — into Eretz Yisrael the loftiest state.

In a sense the power for this actually came from Moshe — for Yehoshua resembled the moon whose light is only reflected from the sun.

Although Yehoshua’s approach was basically a natural procedure of conquest — nevertheless, the initial steps had to be taken in a miraculous fashion using the supernatural powers carried over from Moshe. For this reason Yericho was conquered by marching Kohanim, with the ark of G‑d and blasting shofars, etc.

Now, Moshe’s approach was immeasurably higher than Yehoshua’s, yet it was with the power of Moshe’s efforts that Yehoshua was able to ultimately carry out his own role — just as the moon shines only with the sun’s light. This power of the supernatural which came into the normal human events during Yehoshua’s lifetime also continues to influence us after the passing of Yehoshua. The final conquest of the Holy Land did not take place until after Yehoshua’s death.

This concept is congruous with the role of Shabbos Mevarchim Iyar that we discussed earlier — bringing the blessing of the wonders of Nissan into the everyday life of Iyar. And the connection of these two themes adds strength to the work of purifying the world — conquering Canaan and converting it to Eretz Yisrael.

Another point, Yericho was conquered on the 22nd of Nissan — the eighth day of Pesach — and Shabbos Mevarchim Iyar is always the Shabbos that follows and therefore ‘completes’ — that day. Now we see that not only was that the key to Eretz Yisrael but through the 26th of Nissan it affected the complete conquest of the land including the final stages after Yehoshua died.

Today — we must put our efforts into reaching the outside with the true wellsprings of Torah, as they were given by the Holy One, blessed be He, to Moshe, and then passed on from generation to generation, so that in each generation everyone who studies Torah is connected with the giver of Torah. The true student of Torah is also given the opportunity to possess the Torah — and G‑d Himself — who placed Himself in His Torah.

May our discussion of the conquest of Eretz Yisrael materially and spiritually merit us very speedily the ultimate conquest of Eretz Yisrael not by war but by peace ‘In ease and rest shall you be saved’ (Yeshayahu 30:15), with the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach. Then the world will attain true purification including the nations of the world.

All the nations which You have made will come and cast themselves down before You, O my Master and shall give honor to Your Name. (Tehillim 86:9)

We will engender this phenomenon by teaching the gentile nations to observe the Seven Noachide Laws.

May this come speedily; for all the predestined times have passed and we cry out ‘How long?’ G‑d should redeem us now with the true redemption through our righteous Mashiach and we will go with out ‘youth and elders, sons and daughters’ with those who will rise from the dust — lead by Moshe and Yehoshua — with Dovid King Mashiach, all together, to the Third Bais HaMikdash. There to see and to praise and to sing; speedily and truly in our days.

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3. At the close of today’s Torah portion we find two consecutive verses which are similar in content:

For I am G‑d your L‑rd, and since I am holy, you must [also] make yourself holy and remain sanctified.... I am G‑d, and I brought you out of Egypt to be your G‑d. Therefore, since I am holy, you must [also] remain holy. (Vayikra 11:44-45)

The question has been raised: Should not Rashi explain why this thought is repeated in two consecutive verses?

Moreover, what different meanings may be drawn from the variations in the wording?

A — In the first verse we find ‘Make yourselves holy...’ while in the second verse it only says ‘remain holy.’

B — In the first verse it says ‘For I am G‑d your L‑rd’ and in the second verse it says ‘I am G‑d and I brought you out of Egypt.’

What do these differences signify?

The answer to this question (why did Rashi ignore this?) is that although Rashi did not explicitly explain the redundancy, he did imply the answer when he dealt with a different, but similar, question.

In verse 44 the Torah admonishes us to be holy and also reiterates the prohibition against eating creeping creatures, Rashi wonders, why is it necessary to repeat the admonition and he answers:

You shall not defile — (This is repeated) in order to bring it about that a person transgresses many negative commands (when he eats such abominable things): and every single negative commandment (involves for its transgression the punishment of) lashes. This is (the meaning of) what they say in the Talmud (Makkos 16b): If one has eaten a putisa (shell fish or water reptile), he receives floggings (39 lashes) four times, (because four of the different prohibitions referring to creeping creatures apply to such a water reptile); if he has eaten an ant, he receives five such floggings; a hornet, six such floggings. (Rashi on verse 44)

Rashi goes into this great detail to make it clear that the reason for the Scriptural repetition is to show the severity of the case and to increase the number of negative commandments transgressed in each case.

Having explained this, Rashi can rely on this principle and expect us to interpolate that when the Torah repeats the matter of being holy it does so in order to emphasize and strengthen the prohibition.

What about the differences between the verses? In verse 44 G‑d says ‘Make yourselves holy,’ Rashi explains that the intent here is for man to sanctify himself. The result of this will be that you will ‘remain sanctified.’ Here Rashi adds ‘I will sanctify you above.’

Having explained the words in verse 44 in this manner, when verse 45 says that you will ‘remain holy,’ although Rashi says nothing, we must say that this is referring only to G‑d’s action to make us holy, similar to verse 44.

Thus the two verses are really speaking of two different venues. Verse 44 speaks of human initiative to attain holiness which will be buttressed by G‑d’s action. Verse 45 tells us that G‑d liberated us from Egypt which gave us a state of sanctity and then that G‑d sanctifies us from above. What does all this mean?

Chassidus explains that in the normal process of Divine service, first there is an awakening from above which engenders an awakening in the person (below), this surge upwards evokes a sympathetic second awakening from above in response and in concordance with the person’s efforts. At the same time there is a second immeasurable, supernal awakening, not comparable to the person’s upward movement, that radiates downwards to the person in the manner of a lofty gift bestowed on the individual.

Each stage of this process now fits into the verse.

First the Torah tells us: ‘For I am G‑d your L‑rd, make yourselves holy’ to which Rashi explains: Just as I am holy, I Who am G‑d your L‑rd, similarly, make yourselves holy. Here we have (1) the awakening from above downwards, which ignites (2) the human Divine service to rise upwards. As a result of the person’s awakening and Divine service ‘make yourself holy,’ there emerges again the supernal level — ‘remain holy’ (3) the new awakening from above. This is also followed by (4) the infinite Supernal holiness radiated from above: ‘I am G‑d who took you out of Egypt, remain holy for I am Holy.’ This radiates the Supernal glow of holiness downwards.

This discussion brings to mind the subject of education and training which must begin with transmission from parent to child, from teacher to student, above downward — which then educates the child to act according to Torah — and rise upwards.

On the threshold of the summer months it is important to reiterate the responsibility we have to ensure that all children will receive a proper Jewish education during the summer and the effort must be made to reach out to the parents and to encourage them to enroll their children in Torah camps.

It is also regrettable that many Jewish schools close down during the summer when in fact they should remain open to provide education for their own children as well as others who are free from secular studies and can study Torah. Schools should remain open at least in a summer format where the studies continue in a invigorating country surrounding.

To say that children need vacation from learning is wrong — Torah is their invigorating life! Also, Torah camps should provide a Torah atmosphere for all Jewish children.

All Rabbis, community leaders etc. should see that these facilities are available and that all Jewish children receive the proper summer education. All who work in this area are truly praiseworthy.

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4. In today’s study section of Rambam we learn several laws governing the financial responsibility of a husband to his wife — specifically with regard to the payment of the kesubah and support after divorce or death (from the estate).

Regarding the distribution of assets in the case of a man who died and left several wives the Rambam rules that we follow chronological order, the first wife has the right to claim her kesubah first. However, in movable objects there is no order and whoever takes possession of movable objects gains ownership over them. (Laws of Marriage ch. 17)

In the following chapter the Rambam rules that in the case of support no wife has precedence and the assets to be used for support must be shared equally by all the wives irrespective of who was married first. This is because the rule of precedence does not apply to movable objects.

The commentaries on the Rambam debate what the halachah would be when all the support is derived from immovable property.

The Ragochover Gaon throws a ray of brilliant light on this subject and explains that the difference will depend on how we interpret the husband’s role as provider for his wife. Does he assume this responsibility once, at the time of marriage, or is it a continually self-renewing responsibility — every day it is once again incumbent upon a husband to provide for his family. If the responsibility is assumed only at the time of marriage then the precedence should be to give the wife whom he married first. If the burden is assumed everyday anew then all the wives are equal.

These laws may serve as a metaphor in our Divine service to our Master, the Creator of the world.

Marriage is seen as the bond between G‑d and the Jewish people; this was made at Matan Torah after the preparation of counting the Omer.

Here, too, we may analyze: (1) was the Torah given once and forever, or, (2) is it an ongoing process continually renewed, every day, as we say in the blessing ‘Who gives us the Torah,’ present tense!

Actually both of these ideas are true. The eternity of Torah adds strength to all aspects of our Divine service, and the novelty of Torah introduces zealousness and enthusiasm in its observance.

By learning about the marriage of the Holy One, blessed be He, and the Jewish people may we merit very soon to that time when the wedding will actually take place, in the Days of Mashiach. May we be speedily redeemed on this Shabbos day, and on the wings of clouds may we soar to the Bais HaMikdash in Yerushalayim, to the Holy City, in our Holy Land — immediately and truly now.