(Haftara: Jeremiah 32:6-27)
(Pirkay Avot: Chapter 3)
1. [25:2] “…the land will keep a Shabbat for God.” In the land of Israel, every seven years, one does not work his land, or demonstrate his ownership of the land. This is called the “shmitta” year and it shows us that the land belongs to God. Why do the commandments of shmitta apply only in the land of Israel? Doesn’t a Jew outside the land of Israel also need to learn that the land really belongs to God?
2. [25:2] ..”the land will keep a Shabbat for God.” How do the commandments of shmitta (giving up ownership of the land for a year) and yovel (slaves and property going back to their original owners) affect the attitudes, mentality and life of the people?
3. [Yirmiahu 32:27] “…is there anything too hard for me?” In pasuk 17 of this chapter. Yirmiahu says to God, “…there is nothing too hard for you”. In pasuk 27, God says to Yermiyahu in almost the same words, “ …is there anything too hard for me?”. Yirmiyahu knew in theory that God can do anything, but God had to reassure him. This is a major theme in the way of Torah—internalizing clear understanding. How can a person take what he or she knows in theory—in his or her mind—and transfer that understanding to the heart—integrate that knowledge totally into one’s personality?
4. [Pirkay Avot 3:11] “…someone who embarrasses a person in public…has no portion in the next world.” We would have known that embarrassing a person publicly is a sin, but why is it considered among the worst of all sins?
5. [Siddur] In the last blessing of the Amidah, “Sim shalom”, the Ashkenazi version of the siddur says, “In the light of Your face You have given us the Torah of life”. In the Sfardi version (Morrocan etc.), it says, “…You have given us Torah and life”. What is the difference between these two versions?
Whoever has the soul of a creative person, must be involved in creative ideas and thoughts. Such a person cannot be involved only in learning, because the flame of the soul rises on its own. And it is impossible to stop it from going on its creative way.
–Rabbi Avraham Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel.
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker
And 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