(Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)

(Haftara: Isaiah 54:11-55:5)

(Pirkay Avot Chapter 6)

  1. [47:26] “…the blessing is listening to the commandments…the curse is if you don’t listen…”  The Torah does not say that if you listen to the commandments, you will get blessing.   The “listening to the commandments” itself, seems to be the blessing.

How is the listening a blessing?  Why is listening to the commandments a blessing, rather than “doing” the commandments?

  1. [11:29] “…the blessing on Mount Grizim and the curse on Mount Eival…”  What educational purpose is served by the blessings and the curses being centered on physical places and being expressed in such a dramatic way?
  1. [12:1] “…you will keep to do…all the days that you live on the earth…”   “What is the meaning  and purpose of the phrase, “…all the days that you live on the earth”?
  1. [Haftara: Isaiah 54:13] “And all your children will be taught by God, and the peace of your children will be great.” In this messianic vision, we are told that when God, himself, will teach us, we will have great peace.  Couldn’t it be true that having God as our teacher would bring us anxiety? How can we possibly live up to God’s expectations?
  1. [Pirkay Avot 1:3] “If one learns from his friend…even one letter, he should treat him with respect.”   What if one laughs with his friend or has a pleasant conversation?  Why is learning so important in our tradition?

Commentary

My mother, Mirl, did not pray from the book  because she could not read.  She only knew how to say the blessings. But wherever she said the blessing in the morning, in that place the radiance of God rested the whole day.

–R. Zusia, 1718-1800, Annipoli.

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