Rosh ha-Shanah is around the corner!
Rosh ha-Shanah is around the corner!

Learning Group—Parshat Netzavim-Vayelech

(Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30)

(Isaiah 61:10-63:9)

1. [31:2] Moshe says, “…I can no longer go out and come in”. It says in another place (Deuteronomy 34:7) that Moshe never lost his physical vitality. If so, what does Moshe mean when he says that he can’t “go out and come in anymore”?

2. [Haftara: Isaiah 61:10] “…He has dressed me with the clothing of salvation…” Isn’t clothing a superficial thing? Why doesn’t the pasuk say, “He has brought salvation deep into my heart”?

3. [Haftara: Isaiah 63:8] “For He (God) said, ‘Certainly they are my children, they will not lie.’ So He was their saviour”. It seem in this pasuk that what makes the Jewish people beloved in God’s eyes is the fact that they don’t lie. In many psukim, however, it is stated that keeping the commandments is what makes the people beloved. How can this contradiction be resolved?

4. [Haftara: Isaiah 63:9] “…in His love and in His compassion he redeemed them…” The Malbim (Meir Leibush, Lithuania and Poland, 1809-1879) says that “love” means seeing the best in the person, and “compassion” means seeing the weakness in the person. Do do you agree with the Malbim’s understanding?

5. [pre-Rosh Hashana] The Talmud tells us that the sound of the shofar on Rosh Hashana represents our crying out to God without words. We are also told that the shofar is meant to wake us up from our “waking dream”, and to improve ourselves. Do these 2 explanations contradict each other?

Commentary

[31:12] “Gather the people—the men, the women and the children…”

Why did God say that all the children should all be brought to this gathering? Everyone is supposed to listen to the Torah, and the smaller children disturb one’s concentration. They make noise and they demand attention. This is coming to teach us the following: One’s own spiritual development is very important. But sometimes, in order to serve God, and especially in order to pass the Torah way of life onto one’s children, one has to give up on what seems like one’s own spiritual development. Focussing on others, rather than on oneself, in itself brings a great deal of spiritual growth.

–The Sfat Emet, R. Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter (1847 – 1905), Góra Kalwaria, Poland

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer

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