(Numbers: 30:2-32:42)

(Haftara: Jeremiah 1:1-2:3)

(Pirkay Avot 1)

  1. [30:3] “When a person makes a vow…” The Talmud tells us that vows—promising to separate oneself from things that are permitted–is the first step to refined spirituality. What do vows have to do with more refined spirituality?
  1. [Pirkay Avot 1:1] “Moshe received the Torah from Sinai, and passed it on to Yehoshua, and Yehoshua to the elders…” Why doesn’t the mishna say that Yehoshua received it from Moshe and the elders received it from Yehoshua, and so on?
  1. [Pirkay Avot 1:1] “They said 3 things…set up many students…” Why is the advice here to set up many students. Wouldn’t one have more of a positive influence on his generation and on future generations by writing many books?
  1. [Pirkay Avot 1:8] “…when they depart from you [in court], let them be innocent in your eyes, after they accept the judgment upon themselves.” Is accepting the judgment of the court really enough to make a person innocent?
  1. [Calendar] We are now in the 3 weeks before Tisha b’Av. In these weeks, we have no marriages, no dancing, playing musical instruments, or cutting hair. Our tradition wants to prepare us to mourn properly on Tisha b’Av. Similarly, before Purim, we prepare to be joyful. However, in Jewish life in general, we often change very quickly from one emotion to another—we go from a funeral to a wedding, and so on. What is special about Tisha b’Av that would require this extra preparation?

Commentary

When a person is singing and can’t lift his voice, and someone comes and sings with him—someone who can lift his voice—then the first person will also be able to lift his voice. That is the secret of the connection between souls.

–R. Pinchas, Koretz, Poland, 1726-1791.

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