• “From your lips drip the sweetness of Torah, under your tongue are honey and milk…” (Shir Hashirim 4:11).
• The learning of Torah is as soothing to the soul as milk and honey is to the palate – from whence the custom of consuming sweet dairy treats on Shavuos.
It comes as no surprise that a human symbol represents the month of Sivan, for we have transcended the signs depicted by the instinct driven four-legged kind, having utilized the months of Nissan and Iyar to refine our human essence.
The teumim (twins) personify the legendary siblings Jacob and Esau. Would Esau, the rowdy one, ruled by his animal instincts, have a change of heart and desire to embrace the Torah, he would be welcomed into the fold, to join Yisrael (Yaakov) in “twinning” with God.
Every Jewish soul was present at Kabbolas HaTorah. The Ropshitzer Rav was known to quote his rebbe, R. Elimelech of Lizhensk: “Not only do I remember standing at Har Sinai, I even recall whom I was standing next to.”
The individual born under the sign of the twins is by nature motivated to learn, to know, to be involved in intellectual exchange. Clever, charming and expressive would characterize the Gemini persona, who knows how to get what he or she wants.
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The story is told of a woman who, having been married for many childless years, approached a tzaddik in desperation, to plead with him to bless her with a child. The rebbe, immersed in deep concentration, was heard to murmur, “Does our Creator not know what He is doing?”
Regaining his composure, he instructed the distraught woman to return home. She and her husband were to fervently pray to Hashem, dispense charity unstintingly, and come back to him in a month’s time.
Following the tzaddik’s directive, they ultimately received his blessing, with the assurance they would be granted a male child. Oddly, the rebbe added that “hopefully” they would see nachas from their offspring.
To the couple’s joy, they soon became the parents of a son. At the baby’s bris, the tzaddik, who was extended the honor of sandek, was heard to murmur, atypically, “Let us hope that in the merit of his forefathers”
In their euphoric high, the new parents regarded the rebbe’s words as simply a heartfelt prayer, like a blessing.
As it turned out, the tzaddik’s concern proved not to be in vain – for their son Itzik not only demonstrated a disdain for learning but also acquired the habit of forming liaisons with wastrels, which distanced him even further from his roots.
By the time his parents became wise to his decadent ways, Itzik had already been sent away to yeshiva in the big city, where he wasted no time seeking out inappropriate friends and integrating into secular society. His father’s pleas fell on deaf ears. In exasperation, the broken old man appealed to his son to hearken to but one request of his – to choose one mitzvah and undertake to heed it, no matter what.
And hopefully, as a result, Itzik would one day, perhaps, do teshuvah and return.
The nightmare visited upon the elderly couple took its toll. Within the year, they both succumbed to the agony of their ordeal, having been unable to withstand the spiritual loss of their one and only child.
The wayward Itzik eventually engrossed himself in the world of commerce and became an affluent tycoon. Hardly any of his associates was aware of his origin, and for all intents and purposes he lived the life of a non-Jew – save for his adherence to his father’s entreaty, to which he had given his word.
To that end he had settled on a “deed” that would arouse the least amount of inquisitiveness among his contemporaries. He recalled how on Shavuos his mother had whipped up all sorts of mouthwatering delicacies, as per the custom of the holiday. Granted, it was more tradition than mitzvah, but that was neither here nor there – and it was the most “digestible” undertaking he could come up with.
Year after year he maintained the routine, remembering to prepare his favorite dairy dishes just as his mother had done for him in his youth. No sooner would he swallow the last delicious morsel than he would forget about the entire event until the next Shavuos came around.
Itzik had a devoted and trusted assistant. Peter was in on just about everything his boss was involved with, save for Itzik’s solitary time in a room wherein he would seclude himself from time to time. His subordinate had never been invited to enter the private chamber, nor had he ever been witness to Itzik’s activity within its walls. Peter’s curiosity as to what transpired behind the closed door was increasingly getting the better of him.
He lucked out one day when his employer neglected to lock the door behind him. Through the narrow opening, Itzik was spied counting an impressive pile of money. Even more astonishing was the existence of a concealed vault in the wall, one that revealed the most dazzling collection of gems and jewels Peter had ever laid eyes on. Overcome with the desire to get his hands on the treasure, he began conjuring up various schemes.
Many imagined scenarios later, Peter finally devised what he reckoned to be a smart strategy. Who would be the wiser if he poisoned his boss? He could feign overwhelming sadness without arousing suspicion – and even before the discovery of Itzik’s body he would already have hidden away a sizable chunk of the fortune nobody else knew of anyway. Peter went about amassing the toxic substance