(Haftara Isaiah 60:1-22)
- [26:13] “I have not transgressed your commandments, nor have I forgotten them”. The Sfat Emet (Poland: 1847-1905) says that this means, “I have not transgressed your commandments, and I have been totally present while doing them”. How can a person be aware of God and be totally present at the same time?
- [28:45-48] “These curses will come upon you…because you did not serve God joyfully”. An employer in our everyday life does not care if one does his job happily or not. He wants the job done well. Why does God insist that we do His commandments with joy?
- [29:8] “…and you will do them [the commandments] in order to act intelligently in all that you do.” Does God mainly want us to do his commandments, or does he mainly want us to become intelligent through the commandments? If a person does the commandments in an automatic way and does not become intelligent, is that worthless to God?
- [Haftara Isaiah 60:1] “And the glory of God will shine on you…” Here the glory of God is compared to light. In Kabbalah, it is also stated that the best metaphor for God’s “energy” in the world is “light”. Why is “light” the best metaphor for God’s influence or presence?
- From the beginning of the month of Elul, we started saying psalm 27 twice a day after the regular prayer.
[Psalm 27:4] “…to see the pleasantness of God and to visit in His holy place.” How does one visit His holy place?
Once you comprehend your aim in life and Israel’s mission, all your complaints about the difficulties of upholding Judaism will vanish. They are felt so keenly in our times…only because the true spirit of Israel has been lost from sight, and its children no longer know and respect themselves.
–R. Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, 1808-1888, Germany.
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