(Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)

(Haftara: Shabbat Chazon: Isaiah 1:1-27)

(Pirkei Avot: Chapter 3)

  1. [1:9] “…I am not able to carry you alone…” The book of Devarim is called Mishneh Torah (second Torah) because it is mainly a summary and a repetition of commandments and past events. The first thing Moshe says is that he never wanted to be the solitary leader of the Israelites. Why does he begin such an important speech with such a negative statement?
  1. [1:17] “…don’t be afraid of any man…” It is a sin for the judges to give a judgment based on fear or any factor other than justice. This statement is understood by our tradition to be a proper quality for everyone—”fear no human”. Is it reasonable to expect the average person to be able to achieve this state of mind?
  1. [1:22] “…and you said, “Let us send people before us…” The first and only major sin mentioned here is the sin of the spies. Of all the sins of the desert, why is this sin considered the most severe?
  1. [Haftara 1:27] “Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and those that return to her with righteousness”. Do justice and righteousness make a perfect society, or are other qualities also needed?
  1. [Tisha b’Av] Tisha b’Av commemorates the destruction of the Temples and all the other calamities in Jewish history. Our tradition tells us that in the future, Tisha b’Av will become a festival—a celebration. Chassidut also tells us that “yeridah l’tsorech aliyah”—a going-down precedes an elevation. What does one gain when one has a descent in one’s mood or one’s life’s events? How does this contribute to an elevation in the future?

Commentary

To be attached to God is the most natural aspiration of a person…There can be no substitute in existence for the longing to be absolutely linked with the living God, with the infinite light. As we are under a compulsion to live, to be nourished, to grow, so are we under a compulsion to be connected to God.

 

  1. 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