(Haftara: Shoftim 13:2-25)
(Pirkay Avot:Chapter 6)
(Shavuot / Megillat Ruth)
1. [5:7] “And they will confess the sins that they did…” Specifying one’s sins through verbal confession is necessary in order to be forgiven by Heaven. Why isn’t it enough that a person sincerely changes his or her behaviour? Why is verbal confession so important?
2. [6:7] “For his father and his mother and his sister and his brother– he will not become impure for them when they die…” A Nazir, who takes extra restrictions on himself, may not attend any funerals. Accompanying the dead to the cemetery is one of our major commandments. Why do we show such respect for the dead–in order to support the survivors, in order to honour the dead, or as a therapy for ourselves? Which of these possibilities supports the idea that a Nazir does not go to any funerals?
3. [Shavuot] Many people have a custom to stay up all night on the night of Shavuot and to learn Torah. This is a preparation for Shavuot morning when we celebrate receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. However, this often makes a person too tired to learn Torah effectively for the next few days. What benefit do people gain from staying up all night?
4. [Megillat Ruth] Ruth is a convert to Judaism and she is the great-grandmother of King David and an ancestor of the Messiah. What does this fact tell us about our attitude to converts?
5. [6:1] “R. Meir says, ‘Whoever learns Torah l’shma (literally: for its name) is worthy of many things…’ ” In our tradition, there are 2 main explanations of “Torah l’shma”. Torah l’shma is defined as learning Torah without ulterior motives—for the love of God. Others explain the term as meaning learning Torah in order to learn it as thoroughly and clearly as possible—for the sake of the Torah. Which explanation do you prefer? Why?
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 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