(Numbers: 16:1-18:32)

(Haftara: Shmuel I, 11:14-12:22)

(Pirkay Avot Chapter 3)

1. [16:3]  “All the people in the community are holy…”   We are also told that “Your nation are all righteous (Yeshaya 60:21).”  We all know Jews who don’t seem to be righteous. How can we understand that “All the people in the community are holy…” ? 

2. [16:3]  “All the people in the community are holy…”   Korach’s argument is a good argument, but his is our classical case of an argument which is not “l’shem shamayim” – not argued out of pure motives. However our sages tell us (Talmud Nazir) that one should learn Torah even if not “l’shem shamayim”, and he will eventually achieve learning which is for pure motives. What is the difference between Korach’s lack of pure motives and a lack of pure motives in learning?

3. [Haftara: Shmuel I 12:11] “…God sent Yiftach and Shmuel and saved you…”  Yiftach, a judge of Israel, was on a much lower moral level than Shmuel. Based on this pasuk, our tradition tells us that “Yiftach in his generation is like Shmuel in his generation”. In other words, any religious authority should be respected in his generation, the way that greater authorities were respected in their generations. What are the positive and what are the negative aspects of this rule?

4. [Pirkay Avot 3:15]  “Whoever shames his friend in public…has no portion in the next world.”  This is the most severe punishment that is possible. Why is shaming someone publicly so terrible?  Is shaming a person privately a lot less severe or only a little better?

5. [Pirkay Avot 3:16] “…receive everyone with joy.” In Pirkay Avot 1:15, it says, “…receive every person with a pleasant face…”.  What is the difference between these two sayings?

Commentary

The holy point within everyone–if one fixes it and lights it up it properly—this is the revelation of one’s private messiah…This point lights up for him all of his Jewishness, and he goes out of his private exile—the exile of being controlled by his desires and appetites—and he achieves the salvation of his soul…

–R. Ya’akov M. Schechter, presently in Jerusalem.

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 cof Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker