(Numbers 1:1-4:20) / (Haftara: Hosea 2, 1-22)

(Pirkay Avot Chapter 6) / (Sfirat Ha’omer) / (Shavuot)

  1. [Haftara: Hosea 2:21] “I will betroth you to me in righteousness (betzedek) and in justice (bemishpat), and in kindness (chesed) and in compassion (rachamim)”. What is the difference between righteousness and justice? What is the difference between kindness and compassion?
  2. [Pirkay Avot 6:1] “…anyone who learns Torah for its own sake (leshma), is worthy of many things…” R. Chaim of Volozhin (1749-1821, Lithuania) says that “Torah for its own sake” means for the sake of the Torah—to understand with the greatest possible depth and clarity. The Chassidic books say that Torah leshma means for the sake of God—loving God and learning in order to get closer to Him.  What kind of personality would be attracted to each of these approaches?
  3. [Pirkay Avot 6:1] “…anyone who learns Torah for its own sake (leshma), is worthy of many things…”    Is it better to learn Torah for a selfish reason or is it better not to learn Torah at all?
  4. [Pirkay Avot 6:6] “…and Torah is acquired with forty-eight qualities. These are: learning, listening, speaking with clarity, understanding…” What does it mean to acquire the Torah?
  5. [[Pirkay Avot 6:6] One of the 48 qualities of acquiring Torah is joy, and another is minimizing pleasure. Can’t physical pleasures give a person joy, at least temporarily? Would having that kind of physical pleasure and joy be a legitimate way of  acquiring Torah?

Commentary

[3:12] “…And  I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel… and the Levites shall be mine.”

“Not only the tribe of Levi, but each and every person in the world, whose spirit has moved him and has understood himself that he should separate himself to stand before God,  to serve Him, to worship Him, to know God and to walk in a straight way like God made him, and he has given up all the various calculations that men make–this man has become holy like a holy of holies, and God shall be his portion and his inheritance forever, and shall give him his needs in this world, as He has given to the Kohanim and the Levites…”

–Rambam, R. Moshe ben Maimon, 1135-1204, Spain and Egypt

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