Learning Group—Parshat Re’eh
(Haftara: Isaiah 54:11-55:5)
1. [11:26] “Look, I am putting in front of you to-day…” To hear and understand something seems like a more significant activity than seeing something. Why does this parsha begin with the word “look”, rather than the more usual “shma”—hear or understand?
2. [11:28] “…the way which I command you today…” We are commanded–obligated to keep the commandments. Why weren’t our actions suggested to us, like we sometimes say to others: “If you do this it’s good for you and for other people”. Why is our spiritual path a path of obligation?
3. [15:7] “When there will be a poor man among your brothers…” The Torah tells us that we should give a poor person enough charity to return to his former financial state. Therefore, someone who was previously rich would get much more charity than someone who was previously poor. What is the logic in this?
4. [Haftara: Isaiah 54:13] “And all your children will be taught by God…” The Malbim says that this pasuk means that since everyone will be taught by God Himself, therefore there will be no arguments in understanding. There are also people today who prefer to learn from one authority without arguments. What are the advantages of arguing and discussing in order to come to clarity, and what are the advantages of having an authority who explains everything to us?
5. [Haftara 55:4] “I have made him a witness for the nations…” How are the Jewish people a witness for the nations. To what are we witnessing?
[14:24] “And if the way is long for you, so that you are not able to carry it, because the place is far from you…”
If a person is excited about doing something, then the task is not hard for him and it does not make him tired. However, if he does not really want to do the task, then it just becomes a big burden for him.
If one is not excited about doing the commandments—if the way is long and tires him out—this is a sure sign that God is far from him.
— R. Moshe Alsheich (1520 – 1600, Saloniki & Safed)
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