(Leviticus: 21:1-24:23)

(Haftara: Yechezkel 44:15-31)

(Pirkay Avot: Chapter 4)

(Sfirat Ha’omer)

1. [21:5] “They may not make themselves bald…” Excessive mourning is forbidden to us. There are some present-day Muslims who say that the Jews value life, so the Jews value the physical. Muslims value death and after-life,  so they value the spiritual. And to value the spiritual is a holier attitude. What would we answer to those people who value death?

2. [21:9] “The daughter of a Kohen, if she becomes a prostitute…” The daughter of a Kohen who becomes a prostitute gets a very severe punishment. The Torah says that she has profaned her father, the Kohen. However, we say (Devarim 24:16) that everyone is judged in relation to his or her own life—not in relation to their children or parents. If so, why is the father seen in terms of the sins of his daughter, and therefore the daughter is punished with such severity?

3. [24:22] “…there will be one law for the convert and for the home-born…”   While we encourage everyone in the world to be moral and believe in God, we are quite strict about accepting people who want to convert to Judaism. Shouldn’t we be happy that someone wants to be part of the Torah and the Jewish people. Why are we so strict with potential converts?

4. [Pirkay Avot 4:1] “Who is rich? He who is happy with what he has.”  Many rich people would probably agree with this statement. If so, why do they continue pursuing wealth?

5. [Pirkay Avot 4:2] “…the reward for a mitzvah (a commandment) is another mitzvah.” Why is another mitzvah considered a reward for doing a mitzvah?

Commentary

When one is involved in Torah—in simple things—one sees how the elevated light comes down in such a wondrous way, and rests beautifully in the world of action. One’s mind expands because of the great splendour and the powerful life-force that flows from the source of the Holy of Holies…

–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 ZuckerThis study page is dedicated to the memory of Rivkah Rochel bat Ya’akov haLevi and Chaya Kornberg, and Yechiel Eliezer ben Yitzchok Meir and Rochel Laya Kornberg