(Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)

(Haftara Isaiah 60:1-22)

(Pirkei Avot Chapter 3-4)

  1. [26:3] “Today I am affirming to Hashem, your God…” Why does he say “Hashem , your God”, rather than “Hashem my God”, or “Hashem our God”?
  1. [26:5] “My ancestor was a homeless Aramean…” The person is finally feeling a sense of “coming home” and accomplishment. Why must he speak now of the difficult times of the past?
  1. [26:15] “Look down from Your holy habitation—from Heaven…” The Torah says [Devarim 4:39 and in other places], “He is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath”. Why, in this pasuk, do we see God only as being beyond the earth?
  1. [26:18] “…making you His special [treasured] nation…” What does it mean to be “His special [treasured] nation”? Is it in the “genes”, or does it come through education? Does it mean that there is extra responsibility or does it mean that there is extra blessing?
  1. [Pirkei Avot 3:1] “Reflect upon three things and you will not come to the hands of transgression…from where you came–from a putrid drop; where you are going–to a place of dust, maggots and worms…” Why is this stated in such negative terms? Our ethical and mystical books tell us that depression leads to sin. To keep us from sin, wouldn’t it have been better to tell us what a noble and Godly soul we have?

Commentary

Just like physical eating awakens one’s thirst, in the same way, being involved in Torah and acting in its ways awakens a thirst for refined and noble things

–R. 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