(Haftara: Shabbat Nachamu: Isaiah 40:1-26)
(Pirkay Avot, Chapter 4 )
1. [4:7] “…listen to the laws and judgments…so you can live and come and inherit the land…” The mission of the Jews is mainly publicizing one universal God, and spreading the importance of justice and compassion. Our mission can be carried out anywhere. Why do we need a land?
2. [4:30] “…and you will return to God…” The Torah tells us that after sinning, the Jews will be dispersed all over the world, and then, as a result of their suffering, they will return to God. Why does returning to God happen through suffering, rather than through positive events and joy?
3. [Haftara, Isaiah 40:4] “Every valley shall be lifted up and every mountain and hill shall be made low.” This is a vision of the ideal life in the messianic future. The Radak, R. David Kimchi, (1160-1235), says that in messianic times there will be no need to struggle. Other sources, however seem to say that there will be struggle in the time of messianic consciousness. Do you think that there will be struggle in the ideal messianic era or not?
4. [Pirkay Avot 4:1] “Who is strong? He who subdues his evil inclination..” Why does it say, “He who subdues” rather than he who “eliminates” his evil inclination?
5. [Pirkay Avot 4:1] “Who is strong? He who subdues his evil inclination…” The Ba’al Shem Tov says that one should use the evil inclination in the service of God. How does one use the evil inclination in the service of God?
When the longing to be good to everyone becomes intensified in a person, then he knows that an illumination from the higher realm has come to him. He is praiseworthy if he prepares a proper place in his heart, his mind, his actions and in all his feelings to receive this elevated light. It is the most precious asset on earth. Let him hold onto it and not let it go.
R. Avraham Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel.
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
And this study page is also dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker