(Haftara: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14)
(Pirkay Avot: Chapter 4)
1. [Vayikra 26:3] “If you will walk in my rules and keep my commandments and do them”, then you will be greatly rewarded. However, in Pirkay Avot [5:26], it says “According to the effort is the reward”—the criterion for reward from God is effort and not results. Is accomplishment rewarded or is effort even without success rewarded?
2. [26:3] “If you walk in My chukim (statutes)…” Chukim are commandments whose reasons are either not comprehensible, or very hard to understand. For example, the laws of kashrut and the commandment of tfillin are chukim. What quality of character is developed by performing commandments which we don’t understand?
3. [Jeremiah 16:19] “…to You the nations will come from the ends of the earth.” We believe that in the future all the people in the world will recognize the one universal God who revealed the Torah to us. If this belief is the same for everyone, why do the Jews have so many commandments, while the non-Jews have 7 commandments?
4. [Haftara 17:8] “Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord…He shall be as the tree planted by the waters.” The Torah brings the image of a tree with deep roots beside the water, here, and in other places. What kind of personality is the Torah trying to build that is suggested by the tree?
5. [Pirkay Avot 4:1] “Who is wise? He who learns from everyone.” What are the personal qualities of a person who learns from everyone?
[26:12] “And I will walk among you and will be your God and you will be my people”.
The word for “walk (hithalakhti)” which the Torah uses here, means to walk to-and-fro and not stay in 1 place. God is assuring us here, that if we live according to his ways, he will not be in just 1 place—in the Temple—but rather He will be with each and every 1 of us. Each of us will be His Temple.
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