30 January 2018

The Connection Between Shevat, Devorah and the Final Redemption

15 Shevat 5778

I was born on TU b'Shevat. In the year that I was born - 5714 - it fell on a Tuesday, right between Parashat Beshallach and Parashat Yitro. I was named for Devorah Haneviah whose famous song is recounted in the haftarah of Parashat Beshallach. The very next parashah mentions Tziporah bat Yitro in its opening pasukim.

The juxtaposition of these two women in the Torah readings is interesting because of the history they share. It is recounted that Tziporah was greatly distressed at being caused to miss out on Shirat HaYam, after having been sent back home to await the redemption from Egypt. To compensate her, Hashem reincarnated her soul in Devorah Haneviah and gave her a song of her own to sing - Shirat Devorah.

Devorah Haneviah was also a reincarnation of Tamar bat Shem. Devorah Haneviah's custom of sitting under the palm tree to judge Yisrael was a rectification for Tamar's sitting at the crossroads like a prostitute.

It's also interesting to me that the land allotted to Yitro's offspring was located near Yericho, the City of Palm Trees, in the same area where I currently live. (See the banner above.) And Devorah Haneviah reputedly owned groves of date palms in this same area.

Speaking of dates...
Dates are also associated with Devorah the Prophetess who is mentioned in the haftorah of the Shabbat before TU b'Shevat. For she is described as judging the people "under the date palm of Devorah." She shares a connection with the ultimate Redemption for through her efforts, "the land was at rest for forty years," and forty is associated with the Redemption.
An excerpt from Shevat: The Month of Salvation and Miracles
by Rabbanit Chagit Shira

The month of Shevat...is a special month that has great salvations hidden inside it. Shevat is the month of miracles, blooming and renewal. Shevat means stick in Hebrew, like the stick of salvation that can literally rest in your hands.

Our sages tell us that there were 10 things G-d created at the end of the 6 days of creation right before the onset of the first Shabbat in the world. Among them was the staff with G-d’s name engraved on it which Moses used upon leaving Egypt. Before leaving the Garden of Eden Adam took a branch from the tree of knowledge and that is the staff that went from Adam to Enoch. Enoch gave it to Noah who gave it to Shem who gave to Abraham to Isaac to Jacob. Of This staff Jacob said: “With my staff I crossed this Jordan River (and now I am two encampments)”...

The staff went to Yehuda and was given as collateral to Tamar. It got to Yosef in Egypt and when Yosef dies all his possessions were taken to Pharaoh’s palace including the staff. Yitro who was one of Pharaoh’s astrologers saw the staff with the letters engraved on it and he desired it for himself. He took it and planted it in his garden in Midian. The Midrash says that no one could approach the staff and remove it from its place until Moses came along.

Moses goes to Yitro’s house and prays in the garden. He notices the staff (made of sapphire) planted in the garden. He approached it and saw the name of G-d engraved on it. He took it out easily and it became something always with him and ultimately something inseparable from the process of redemption which continues till this very day. The staff will be given to Moshiach in the final redemption, we hope real soon.