(Haftara: Amos 9:7-15)
(Pirkay Avot: Chapter 3)
1. [18:6] “Do not defile yourself with any of these things…” The Torah emphasizes sexual modesty and there are many rabbinic laws which distance us even more from immodesty. Some communities emphasize these laws, while others keep the laws, but don’t emphasize them as much. Some argue that putting constant emphasis on the laws of sexual immorality is counter-productive, because it causes people to think about sex more than they should. Do you agree or disagree with that thinking?
2. [19:11] “…don’t lie to each other.” Our tradition, however, tells us that for the sake of peace, one is allowed or even obligated to lie. If a child breaks something in the house, and he or she lies about it, there will definitely be more peace at home. However, in most situations, he or she is not permitted to lie. In which situations is one permitted to lie, and in which situations is one not permitted to lie, for the sake of peace?
3. [19:14] “Don’t curse the deaf, and don’t put an obstacle before the blind…” The first commandment in this parsha is “Be holy”. Cursing the deaf and many other acts are obviously not at all holy. Even an immoral person would agree that these are very depraved actions. Why did the Torah have to specify these actions? Why not just say “Be holy” and leave it at that?
4. [19:15] “Don’t twist judgment. Don’t favour the poor..” Often,life itself, has been unjust to the poor. Why can’t we try to correct this injustice in court? How can we try to correct this injustice outside of the courts?
5. [19:18] “…and love your fellow person like you love yourself “. What is love?
Through being joyful, a person can energize someone else and that is a very big thing. Most people are full of suffering and worries and different troubles and it is impossible for them to express what is in their hearts. When a person with a happy face comes along, he is able to energize them.
–R. Nachman of Breslov, 1772-1810, Ukraine.
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Rivkah Rochel bat Ya’akov haLevi and Chaya Kornberg, and Yechiel Eliezer ben Yitzchok Meir and Rochel Laya Kornberg