(Numbers: 19:1- 22:2)     

 (Shoftim 11:1-33)    

(Pirkay Avot 4)

1. [19:2] “This is the law of the Torah…”  This section tells us about purification. The pasuk should say that “This is the law of purification…”.  Why does it say “This is the law of the Torah”?

2. [21:18] “and from the wilderness to Mattanah [gift].”  Our mystical tradition understands that each of these stops in the wilderness represents a psychological, spiritual matter.  From this pasuk it is understood that the Torah–closeness to God and spiritual wholeness– can be acquired even by someone who has not worked at it step by step, but rather acquires the Torah as a gift because of some personal quality or action. What personal quality or action could bring a person to God and spiritual wholeness?

3. [Pirkay Avot 4:1]   “Who is wise: he who learns from every person…”  This type of person is a good or an efficient learner. Why is someone who learns from everyone considered wise? What is wisdom?

4.  [Pirkay Avot 4:7] “…anyone who gets personal gain from the Torah, takes his life from the world…”  Is it true that using anyone or anything for personal gain is an undesirable thing to do? When can exploiting someone be justified? Can one ever justify using the Torah for personal gain?

5.  [Pirkay Avot 4:15] “…let the honour of your friend be like the respect that you have for your teacher (rabbi)…”  How can one compare the honour that one gives to one’s friend to the respect that one has for one’s teacher? Doesn’t a person want a more intimate relationship with one’s friend than with one’s teacher?

Commentary

Judaism reveals the purpose of life in this world…to transform the world into a kingdom of the Almighty. Every Jew must serve his Creator by gearing all his actions, words and thoughts toward this goal. Every Jew builds and repairs his personal world, and all of the nation of Israel build and repair the entire world.

–R. Yechiel Bar-Lev, born 1943, Israel.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker

And to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer