(Leviticus: 9:1- 11:47)

(Haftara: Shmuel II: 6:1-7:17)

(Pirkay Avot: Chapter 1)

  1. [Parsha: 10:3] “And Moshe said to Aharon, “This is what God meant when He said, ‘Through those who are close to Me, I will be made holy…and Aharon was silent’ “. Is Aharon silent because he was comforted, because he was angry or for some other reason. How can we understand Aharon’s silence?
  1. [Haftara: Shmuel II, 6:14-16] “And David danced before God with all his strength…and Michal [his wife]…despised him in her heart”. If it was really undignified for David to dance like this, why did he do it? What does this show about a Jewish king?
  1. [On each Shabbat between Pesach and Rosh Hashana there is a custom to read and learn one chapter of “The Ethics of the Fathers”. On this Shabbat, we begin with the first chapter. (It can be found in a regular Siddur after the afternoon service of  Shabbat.) In each mishna, one of the Rabbis summarizes his life’s thoughts about ethics for the Jews.]

[Pirkay Avot, Chapter 1, Mishna 1] …”set up many students…” This is Beit Hillel’s  opinion (Pirkay d’R. Eliezer), but Beit Shamai  believes that one should teach only the best and not waste energy on the weaker students. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each opinion? Which do you agree with?

  1. [Pirkay Avot 1:3] This mishna tells us not to serve God in order to get a prize, but rather serve God out of pure love. Then the mishna says, “…and let the fear of Heaven be upon you”. What does the fear of Heaven have to do with serving out of pure love.
  1. [Pirkay Avot 1:7] “…don’t despair of punishment“. Why doesn’t this mishna say, “Worry about punishment” or “Be aware that there is punishment”. To which kind of person is this mishna speaking and what is the meaning of this phrase?

Commentary

[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 the propriety of what someone has done, then assume that the person acted properly.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, however, understands this differently. He says that even if it is certain that a person did a sinful act, don’t judge the person by the act he did. Rather, look deeper into the person and find the spark of holiness and goodness which is deep within. Judge the person by the holiness within.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker

And to the memory of Sarah Beila Kummer bat Yitzchak and Chana, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer