(Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19)

(Haftara: Isaiah 54:1-10)

(Pirkay Avot: Chapter 2)

  1. [23:15] “and your camp shall be holy, that He should not see an improper thing with you…”   The Torah and our tradition make clear to us that, while many things are unholy, the main things that obstruct holiness have to do with people’s social behaviour and attitudes. Will going to the toilet outside the camp affect people’s social behaviour and attitudes?
  1. [23:8, 24:14,17] The Torah demands that we be very compassionate with those who have helped us, and with the weaker people in our society. However, the Torah can be very merciless with those who are considered evil. If we were compassionate with the evil, couldn’t many of them become good? Why is the Torah so uncompromising with evil people?
  1. [Pirkei Avot 2:2] “…all Torah study that is not accompanied with work will ultimately be forgotten and cause sin.” One would think that the more Torah one learns, the richer one’s life is in every way. Why does being involved in the world help a person acquire and retain Torah?
  1. [Pirkay Avot 2:6] “In a place where there are no men, you try to be a man.” Our main commentator on mishna, R. Ovadia of Bartenura, explains this mishna as, “Where there are no leaders, you take the role of leader.” We sometimes talk about people as being “born leaders”. Can anyone be a leader if they have to be? What can a person do to prepare for a leadership role?
  1. [Elul] In the month of Elul, we blow the shofar every morning after the prayer service. Maimonides tells us that this is in order to wake us up. What does it mean when we say that we are usually sleeping?

Commentary

Each time that the heart feels a spiritual stirring, each time a new and noble thought is born, it is as if we are listening to the voice of a messenger of God who is knocking, pressing on the doors of our soul, asking that we open our door to Him, so that He can appear before us in his full majesty.

  1. 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