Hebraic Studies – The Oasis of Elim

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Please Note: On this page I may show the four letter blessed *“Memorial Name” of the Almighty in Ivrit - - Y-H-V-H, which we usually pronounce as “Adonai or “HaShem”. At all times treat the most blessed Name with great sanctity and when we even see the Name, we should say “blessed be His Sanctified Name.”

 

*This is My Name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.” Shemot - Exodus 3:15.

 

 

 

Please Note: I will be using the “Jewish Publication Society” (JPS version of the Torah/Tanakh) with some minor updates.

For who may not use a Hebrew/English Torah/Tanakh and have a Bible the verse may occasionally differ by one up or down

With Rabbi Reuven Ben-Avraham.

 

Once you have read this, please read al of Parashat “Beshallah”

Around this time of year, according to the Book of Shemot and in the center of Parashat “Beshallah” we fine a very interesting discovery, which is worthy of its own study:

“And they came to Elim, where were twelve springs of water, and three score and ten palm-trees; and they encamped there by the waters” Shemot - Exodus 15: 27 (JPS version of the Torah).

Thus we have just read that B’nei Yisrael - - the Children of Israel arrived at an Oasis called ‘Elim(Shemot - Exodus 15: 27).

After their journey past ‘Marah’, the place of bitter waters, we can only imagine this place that had 12 Springs and 70 Palm Trees and these certainly came as a welcome relief. Perhaps they rested here and recovered from their journey, and were finally commenced to be able to integrate all that had occurred since that big day of Pesach!

If we really start thinking about the place named ‘Elim’ I have just provide, one might well think that somehow that this place was somehow pre planned by Elohim, blessed be He, from the foundation of the world in exactly the right form so there would certainly be sufficient to comfort the tired and thirsty Hebrews. I will explain this shortly! Originally, there was only enough water to support the palm trees, but when the people arrived, the springs gushed forth with sufficient water for everyone, and remember it was a massive number of people.

Interestingly the word “elimah” or “toward Elim”, if the letters are rearranged, it becomes “Elohim” and it somehow explains that the B’nei Yisrael would be able to reach a new spiritual level in that very place for Elohim had arranged it! Somehow I have always attempted to imagine what ‘Elim’ might have been like at that time? The word itself means ‘terebinths’, which means a type of tree native to the region better known as a ‘Pistachio tree’. Taken all together, it somehow implies that this mysterious grove touched the ‘transcendent’.

The fact is that the number of trees and springs are absolutely significant in the detail here. Just think about it, I am sure that the 12 Springs echoed the 12 - 12 Tribes of Yisrael, and the 70 Palm trees stood for the 70 - 70 Elders of Israel, or the Tribes who are directly alluded to in the Torah.

The verse immediately prior to the story of ‘Elim’ states:

“… for I am that healeth thee” Shemot - Exodus 15:26 (JPS version of the Torah).

Using the interpretive principle of smichut parshiyot, we might infer that ‘Elim’ was a place of healing. And we know that being around water and trees can certainly have a positive effect on people. I have heard it said that the journey from ‘Marah’ to ‘Elim’ could actually hint at the name of ‘Miriam’, which means of course “bitter sea.” Likewise, it is known that the word t’marim, dale palms, becomes Miriam if we remove the first letter. We might well imagine Miriam singing her songs and dancing her dances not only once by the Sea of Reeds, but many nights under the trees at ‘Elim’, while the people bathed their feet in the cool springs. ‘Elim’ had certainly been a place of replenishment and wonder?

The Question is; how do we go about creating the wondrous respite of ‘Elim’ today? A place to breathe, delight in the community, and find the peace that allows us to persevere, especially in the recent difficult times? We already have blessed Shabbat and our wonderful Yom Tovim and daily prayer’s etc. Yet our lives can still be so often rushed and overworked that we often have so little time for meaningful relationships, and have little to no time to have some time in nature to relax and appreciate what Elohim has given us! And with our interactions limited for so long by the pandemic, I wonder: Have we had time to study more Torah and share what we learned with others?

We all need a little more ‘Elim’ in our lives and take some time to breathe, and delight in our wonderful Jewish community, and find the peace that allows us to persevere in our faith and keep up our prayers, uphold the lighting of the Shabbat Candles enjoy the Kiddush with the Mishpacha (family).

 

May … “ bless thee, and keep thee;

make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee;

lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace”

Be’midbar – Numbers 6: 24-26 (JPS version of the Torah).

For those who have a yearning to learn more about the Torah and grow in being a good and faithful Jew, there are many valuable studies on Hebraic Studies enter the index below. If you have any questions you are welcome to email me.

And remember our motto seen on the logo at the top of this page: “The More Torah, the More Life”, for Elohim, blessed be His Sanctified Name, is the one who gave us our Life!”

Rabbi Reuven Ben Avraham.

 

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