Chodesh Tov! We are going into the Hebrew month of Shevat this week, so I thought I will share some thoughts and facts with you about this month.
The month of Shevat is the eleventh month from when counting the Hebrew months after the month of Nissan.
Shevat is known as an excellent month Biblically as many good things took place during this month. On the 1st of Shevat, Moshe, started his 37 day speech before the Jews went into the land of Israel, which is featured in the Parshah’s of Devarim and Vaetchanan in the book of Devarim (Devarim 1:1).
He then went on to review many of the Laws that had been taught at Mount Sinai and at the "Tent of Meeting," which was the gathering place of the Jews around the Mishkan (tabernacle), where they came there to learn Torah from Moshe.
This 37 day speech came about just before Moshe died as Joshua took over as the leader of the Jews and took them into the land of Israel. The Book of Devarim is also named the "Mishna Torah (Review of the Torah)," for this reason. Moshe taught them many additional laws at this time which were unknown to many, he also rebuked them for any transgressions they had done, for example, when they were complaining in the wilderness, the sin of the spies (Bamidbar 13:27), the Golden Calf (Shemot 31:1) and unfortunately other transgressions that had taken place.
Moshe then went on to tell them of the great reward they would receive if they faithfully kept the Torah laws, and the awful punishments they would suffer if they did not. Many of the rewards included peace, prosperity and health (Vayikra 26:3/13), however many of the rewards are to be seen at the time of Moshiach and in the ‘World to come.’ However throughout Jewish history we have already known about many of the punishments that have unfortunatly befell on to the Jewish nation, especially during the destruction of the First and Second Temples, the Spanish Inquisition and the Holocaust, too name few of them.
Moshe then went on to prepare them for their entry into the land of Israel, despite he knew that he was not going to enter the land due to his transgression of ‘hitting’ the rock instead of ‘speaking’ to it (Bamidbar 20:11), Moshe then concluded his massive speech by blessing them, prior his death, showering upon them some of the most beautiful blessings featured in the Tanach.
Moshe began the speech on the first of Shevat and ended it on the seventh of Adar.
Many of the later Sages said that the first of Shevat is comparable to the day of the giving of the Torah. As the sixth of Sivan, on which the Torah was given to Israel (featured in Parshat Yitro), remains forever suitable for the renewed acceptance of the Torah.
The book of Devarim is a time of reviewing all the positive and negative mitzvot, as it took place in the month of Shevat, this month is a good time to try and review and also practice the commandments.
The main festival which takes place during this month is dated on the 15th of Shevat, which is know as ‘Tu Bishvat,’ this is known as the festival of the new year for trees. The land of Israel was famous for 7 different species, Wheat, Barley, Grapes, Figs, Pomegranates, Olives and also Dates (Devarim 8:8). It is customary during this day to say blessings on the fruits and species which fames the land of Israel. Many ‘Bracha’ parties take place on this day, to celebrate this wonderful festival of the New Year for Trees.
Also the month of Shevat is know for one of the 12 later prophets, Zecharia, having a prophecy on the 24th of Shevat, saying, '...I will return to Jerusalem in mercy, my house will be built within her (Zecharia 1:7/16) ," this beautiful prophecy was made two years before the completion of the Second Temple.
Also the 28th of Shevat was known as the ‘Hasmonean Holiday,’ as 'Antiochus V' abandoned his siege of Jerusalem and his plans for the city's destruction. This day was observed as a holiday during Hashmonean times (Megillat Taanit).
This Dvar Torah is for the Hatzlacha and success of Moshe Ben Yael Leah, to grow up to be a tzadik and have many righteous descendants and descendants of descendants.