(Numbers: 22:2-25:9)

(Haftara: Micah 5:6-6:8)

(Pirkay Avot: Chapter 6)

  1. [23:19 ] “God is not a man, that He should lie; or a person who changes His mind…” Our prophets also tell us that God is beyond human qualities—is total positivity. If that is true, why does God often seem so human in the Torah?
  1. This is the only parsha in the Torah (after Avraham) that is not centered in the camp or in the life of the Israelites. Some say that this parsha is coming to tell us how the people of Israel look so dignified and ideal from the outside. We know, however, about all the complaints, fears and arguments of the Israelites. What purpose is served by the Torah telling us that the Israelites looked so good from the outside?
  1. [Haftara: Micah 6:8] “…what does God ask of you: only to do justice, to love chesed, and to walk humbly with your God”. If these are the main things that God asks of us, what is the purpose of the other commandments of the Torah like eating kosher, keeping Shabbat, and so on.
  1. [Pirkei Avot 6:1] “…whoever learns Torah for its own sake (and not with ulterior motive) is called a beloved friend, who loves God and loves people, etc…” How does learning Torah make someone into a lover of people?
  1. [Pirkei Avot 6:8] “…old age and children are appreciated by tzaddikim (righteous people) and the world”. Is a tzaddik someone who has a certain state of mind, or is he or she someone who does many mitzvoth and good deeds?

Commentary

Every person must personally look upon himself as a partner with God…Creation exists for the sake of man, and it is man’s duty to work toward fulfilling God’s goal. Our sages thus teach us that everyone should say, “The world was created for my sake.”

–R. Aryeh Kaplan, 1934-1983. U.S.A.

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