(Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)

(Haftara Isaiah 60:1-22)

1.   [26:2] “And you will take from the first of all the fruits of the ground…” The               

Sfat Emet says that “this is in order to emphasize and to celebrate newness and   

freshness”.  What is so special about newness and freshness?  Shouldn’t we celebrate tradition and experience?

2. [28:45-48] “These curses will come upon you…because you did not serve God joyfully”.  If one serves God, but not joyfully, is that service of God worthless?

3. [29:8] The Sforno (Italy-1475-1550) understands this pasuk to be saying that one should “do them [the commandments] in order that you should be perceptive and understanding in everything that you do”. What does he mean? How can doing the commandments make a person perceptive in all that he does?

4. [Haftara: Yeshayahu 60:9] “…to bring your children from far..” This pasuk is referring to the “ingathering of the exiles”—the Jews gathering in the land of Israel.  Rav Kuk speaks about a personal “ingathering of one’s exiles”.  What are one’s personal exiles? How does a person gather his or her personal exiles?

5. [Calendar] Our tradition tells us that the month of Elul, has the same letters that begin the words, “I am my Beloved’s and  my Beloved is mine”. It is a time of intimacy between God and the Jewish people—both as a people and as individuals.  How is it that the time before the Days of Judgment is such an intimate time?

Commentary

[28:47] “Because you did not serve Hashem, your God,  with joy and a happy heart…”

When a person is introspective, and he, himself, judges all the things that he does, then there is no judgment from above. Through this introspection and self-judgment a person can come to such great joy that he wants to dance as a result of his joy.

–R. Nachman of Breslov (Ukraine, 1772-1810).

This 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

And this study page is also dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker