(Haftara: Isaiah 54:1-10)
(Pirkay Avot: Chapter 2)
- [22:1] “ …you must return them to your brother.” The matter of lost articles and their return to their owners is an important issue in halacha and in Chassidut. A complete and rather long tractate in the Talmud is devoted to this topic. Why is this matter so important in our social lives and in our psychological-spiritual lives?
- [22:4] “…lift them up with him.” The Torah tells us that we must help a person who needs help. Rashi and other commentaries further tell us that we must help only if the other person also lifts, but not if he expects us to do it all. How is this an excellent model for helping people? Are there times when one should help even if the other person does not take part?
- [23:8, 24:14,17] The Torah demands that we be very compassionate with those who have helped us, and with the weaker people in our society. However, the Torah can be very merciless with those who are considered evil. If we were compassionate with the evil, couldn’t many of them become good? Why is the Torah so uncompromising with evil people?
- [Pirkei Avot 2:1] “Be as careful with a minor mitzvah as with a major one, because you don’t know the rewards for the mitzvot.” We do know that some mitzvoth are more important than others. For example, Shabbat is very important and the mitzvoth of kindness are the most important. Therefore their rewards should be greater than those of other mitzvoth. What does the mishna mean when it says that one should not make a distinction between mitzvoth?
- [Pirkei Avot 2:2] “…all Torah study that is not accompanied with work will ultimately be forgotten and cause sin.” One would think that the more Torah one learns, the richer one’s life is in every way. Why does being involved in the world
help a person acquire and retain Torah?
[21:13] “And she should remove the clothing of her captivity…”
The base thoughts that a person has—thoughts of selfishness and lust—have within them a spark of holiness that yearns to be free and return to its source. However, this holiness is covered, so to speak with dirty clothing. A person must remove the dirty clothing and the holiness within will shine like the morning light.
–R. Israel Baal Shem Tov (1700-1760)
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker
And to the memory of Sarah Beila Kummer bat Yitzchak and Chana, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer