(Haftara: Yehoshua 5:2-6:1 & 6:27)

  1. [Pesach] The author of the Netivot Shalom (R. Sholom Noach Berezovsky,1911- 2000) tells us that the three regalim (Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot) represent a personal process. One first must be free (Pesach–the festival of freedom), then one can accept the Torah (Shavuot–the time of receiving the Torah), and then, about four months later, one has joy (Sukkot–the time of our joy). What do the four months between Shavuot and Sukkot represent. What personal process does a person go through between Shavuot–becoming committed to serving God–and Sukkot–achieving joy?
  1. [Pesach] The author of the Netivot Shalom (R.Sholom Noach Berezovsky1911- 2000) tells us that the three regalim (Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot) represent a personal process. Why must there be a process at all? Doesn’t the first step alone–freedom–bring joy?
  1. [Pesach] One of the commandments of the Pesach seder is to tell the story of the liberation from Egypt. The story is supposed to be told through questions and answers. It should be interactive. Which is more educationally effective–a very clear and entertaining lecture from a skilled teacher, or a question and answer format with a less skilled teacher?
  1. [Pesach] The festival of Passover is called “Pesach” in Hebrew because God “passed over” the homes of the Israelites when the first-born of the Egyptians was killed (Shmot 12:13). A number of our festivals involve wars and violence and our victories. Wouldn’t it be better to focus on positive memories, rather than recounting the extreme difficulties in our history, and our victories?
  1. [Pesach] On the personal level, the word Mitzrayim (Egypt) can also be pronounced metzarim in Hebrew—narrow places. Narrowness is a narrowness of mind and of emotion. It suggests fear and unwillingness to expand or to love. It suggests being enslaved by one’s negative habits, opinions, emotions and behaviours. What can a person do to try to free himself or herself from this narrowness?

Commentary

[Pesach Seder] Through Pesach and especially through the matzah that one eats on Pesach night, one acquires an elevated state of mind, and realizes that God’s Light fills the whole world. However, in order to acquire this state of mind in a more permanent way, one has to pass through obstacles. These obstacles are symbolized by the maror—the bitters—that we eat at the Pesach seder. These obstacles could be from one’s surroundings or they could be from one’s own stubborn personality. However, God reduces the effect of these obstacles, and this is symbolized by dipping the marror into the charoset (mixture of nuts and honey). By passing through these obstacles, one comes to that elevated state of mind.

–R. Natan of Breslov (1780-1844) based on R. Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810)

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliyahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker

And is also dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer

(Numbers 6:2-9:35)

(Haftara: Ezekiel 28:25-29:21)

  1. [6:6,7, 8] “…I took you out, I saved you…” Our tradition speaks about 4 terms for redemption: “I took you out (of Egypt)… I saved you…I redeemed you (also spiritually) and I took you (to myself as a nation). The Torah is eternal and speaks on both a physical and a spiritual level. How do these terms apply to every redemption and how do they apply on a spiritual-psychological level?
  2. [6:12] “…the children of Israel didn’t listen to me, so why would Pharoah listen to me…” The Riva (12th century, France) explains the logic in the following way: The children of Israel didn’t listen to me , even though I came for their good, so why would Pharoah listen to me when I’m telling him something that’s not good for him? Some commentators say that this is faulty logic. What might be faulty about the logic here?
  3. [6:30] Moshe does not want to be the leader of the Israelites, but God insists that he is the man for the job. What qualities does Moshe have that make him a proper leader? How are these qualities different from the qualities that we usually associate with leadership?
  4. [Haftara: Yechezkel 28:26] “…they will live safely on it…and plant vineyards…” There are many plants that farmers plant. Why is planting vineyards a sign that one is living safely in the land?
  5. [Haftara: Ezekiel 29:2] God addresses Ezekiel and other prophets as “son of man”. Ezekiel is a prophet and a spiritual leader of the people. Why is “son of man” a suitable title for a prophet of God and a spiritual leader?

Commentary

If a person, despite all efforts, does not succeed in concentrating on his prayer, he can resort to supplication, asking God to have compassion on him, like a father who takes pity on his children. For we are a part of God as children can be said to be a part of their parents. It is, in a sense the last argument: “O, Lord, even if we are not worthy of your glory or grace, at least for your own sake, since we are a part of You, a spark of Your holiness, come to our aid.”

–R. Adin Steinsaltz, born in 1937, Israel.

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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Location

Mizmor LeDavid is located in the Scouts (Tzofim) building, Nachum Shadmi 2, corner of Efrata and Giladi, in Old Talpiot/ Arnona.


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