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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mesechet Shevu'ot and Shavu'ot

Translation of a cute thing I read on last week's Kol Emunim newsletter (bottom of p. 4) by Rav Yosef Hakohen Chesir, Montreal.

There is a holy custom in Israel to learn Mesechet Shavu'ot during Sefirat Ha'omer as it contains 49 pages, corresponding to the 49 days of the Omer.  And I thought that at first glance, it would have been more fit for it to have 7 chapters in the tractate and not the 8 that it has.  I realize that this is not a strong question, but it's still a question.  A stronger question is that the entire tractate talks about unforced oaths one makes and oaths one must make for testifying, whose source is in the book of Vayikra, whereas the oaths of watchmen are relegated to the very end of tractate even though their source is in the book of Shemot.

With Hashem's help, an amazing thing fell into my thoughts.  It is known what Rashi brings down from Rav Saadia Gaon that all 613 Mitzvot are hinted to in the 10 Commandments.  And it's also known that the 10 Commandments contains 620 letters - the gematria of כתר - corresponding to the 613 Mitzvot plus the 7 Rabbinic laws.  Then, I thought that the 8th chapter of Shavu'ot does not correspond to the days of the Omer, but rather to the accepting of the Torah, and there needs to be 620 words corresponding to the letters of the 10 Commandments.

So, I sat and counted and found that the Mishna contains 364 words - just as every tractate begins on page 2 because the א is hidden, so too the first word of the Mishna is hidden - so really there are 365 words.  And in the gemara - without the headings of the Mishna - there are exactly 255 words.  It comes out that the Mishna contains the same number of words as the amount of negative commandments - 365 - as Rashi writes on the verse ושמרתם ועשיתם: Ushmartem refers to the Mishna.  And the gemara contains the same number of words as the number of positive commandments - 248 - plus the 7 Rabbinic commandments.

If this is true, then really the 49 pages and 7 chapters correspond to the days of the Omer and the 8th chapter corresponds to the acceptance of the Torah, which is Yom Tov itself.  And since the acceptance of the Torah is similar to the concept of "the oaths of the watchmen" since we had the oath of the Torah placed upon us at Mt. Sinai (מושבעים ועומדים מהר סיני) to guard the Torah and we were made into paid watchmen over the Torah, therefore, this chapter waited until the end of the tractate.

It comes out according to this, at first glance, that those who learn Mesechet Shavu'ot during Sefirat Ha'omer should only learn a few lines on page 49a on the 49th day of the Omer and finish it up on Yom Tov itself.

May it be Hashem's will that we should all merit to accept the Torah completely and to greet the face of Mashiah Tzidkenu and our king at our head with the coming of the redeemer - Bimheira Veyameinu, Amen.


At Wed May 30, 12:37:00 AM 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Chabad minag is to learn masechet Sota during sfirat haOmer, Sota is also 49 pages long...


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