(Numbers: 25:10-30:1)

(Haftara: Melachim I, 18:46-19:21)

(Pirkay Avot, Chapt. 1)

  1. [27:7] “The daughters of Tzelafchad are correct…” The people of Israel were guilty of 2 major sins in the wilderness—the sin of the golden calf, and the sin of the spies. The midrash (midrash rabba) tells us that in each case, the women of Israel were the ones who were faithful to God and our mission, while the men were the ones who sinned. What is it about the quality of women that would make them more faithful to God and our mission than the men?
  1. [Haftara: Melachim I, 19:11,12] “…God was not in the wind…God was not in the earthquake…God was not in the fire…a still, small voice.” God was in the still, small voice. The commentaries say, “…speaking and silence at the same time”. What does this tell us about the nature of prophecy and communication with God?
  1. [Pirkay Avot 1:6] “…judge every person to the side of merit.” If we are doubtful about whether a person did the right thing or not, we should assume that the person did the right thing. It would be more truthful to leave open the possibility that the person did not do the right thing. Why are we advised to judge every person in a positive way?
  1. [Pirkay Avot 1:6] “…and judge every person to the side of merit”. This statement is generally understood to mean that if one is doubtful about what someone else has done, then he should assume that the other person acted properly. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, however, understands this statement to mean that even if it is certain that a person did a sinful act, one should look deeper into the person and find the spark of holiness and goodness which is deep within. Does the first opinion disagree with R. Nachman? Does R. Nachman disagree with the first opinion?
  1. [Pirkay Avot 1:6-7] “Distance yourself from a bad neighbour.” [1:12] “Be one of the students of Aaron–love peace, pursue peace, love people and draw them close to Torah”. Isn’t there a contradiction here? If one should distance oneself from bad neighbours, how can one draw them close to Torah?

Commentary

“Search for God when He can be found (Yeshaya 55:6)”—the initiative for the search rests entirely with man…The path to God is not a highway, but rather a narrow winding and challenging road.

–R. Y. D. Soloveitchik, 1903-1993, USA.

 

 

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