(Haftara: Isaiah 49:14-51:3)
(Pirkay Avot Chapter 5)
1. [7:22 ] “slowly, slowly; you cannot remove them quickly…” Here, the Torah is telling us to be patient. However, when we left Egypt, the Torah told us to move very quickly and leave quickly [Shmot 12:11]. When is the proper time for patience and when is the proper time for haste?
2. [10:16] “Circumcise the foreskin of your heart…” Our texts also talk about the circumcision of the tongue. Our tradition speaks quite naturally about sex and related issues. We, unlike Western culture and religion, do not see sex as “original sin”. On the other hand, we have many restrictions about when sex is permitted and who our sexual partners can be. How can we, at the same time, be so guiltless about sex, and still have so many restrictions?
3. [Haftara] “…joy and gladness will be found there, thankfulness and the sound of music.” This is a comforting messianic vision. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov says that the quality of thankfulness is considered like the light of Paradise. What makes the quality of thankfulness so special?
4. [Pirkay Avot 5:10] “There are 7 qualities in a wise person: …he doesn’t interrupt another’s speech, he answers clearly without confusion, he asks according to the subject and answers properly, he answers in the order of the subjects raised…he admits to the truth”. If a person is not really wise, but has these qualities, does that make the person wiser?
5. [Pirkay Avot 5:13] “…what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is yours, is a chassid…” A chassid is someone who does more than is asked of him. What is the ideal, balanced approach to one’s property and sharing it with others?
[7:21] “Don’t be afraid of them, because your God is in your midst—a great and awesome God.”
What does the fact that God is a great and awesome God have to do with not being afraid of the nations?
A person can love or honour his friend, and at the same time, love and honour God. The love of man is an extension of loving God. However, one cannot really know that God is great and awesome, and also fear people. When one is in awe of God, then one knows that God’s view of reality is the true view of reality. If so, how can one fear a person.
–Maharil Margoliot in the Haktav v’haKabballah
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