(Leviticus: 9:1- 11:47) / (Haftara: Machar Chodesh: Shmuel I, 20 :18-42)

(Sfirat Haomer) / (Pirkay Avot: Chapter 1)

  1. [10:10] “To distinguish between the holy and the profane, and between the impure and the pure.” We are commanded to make precise distinctions in our lives and in our learning. On the other hand, we say in our prayers, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord, the whole world is full of His glory” (Yishayahu 6:3). It has been said that “Until one sees the uniqueness of everything, one cannot see the holiness in common ”. Do you agree with this statement or not?
  2. [Haftara: Shmuel I, 20:18] David and Yehonatan, Naomi and Ruth, Pirkay Avot (“Acquire for yourself a friend”)–the Torah values friendship. The Torah commands us to do acts of kindness and to love our fellow people in general. Why doesn’t the Torah command us to have at least one good friend?
  3. (Sfirat Haomer) In many of our prayerbooks, there is a prayer after we count the omer in which we try to correct one personality trait on each one of the days of the counting. Why do we work on one character trait each day? Couldn’t this fragment our personalities? Wouldn’t it be better to see our personalities as a whole and, in general, work to become better people?
  4. [Pirkay Avot 1:1] “…he passed it on to Yehoshua…” On each Shabbat between Pesach and Shavuot, 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.)  The first mishna tells us that the Torah is passed on from living person to living person. Why is it so important that our spiritual tradition is passed on from person to person, and not only through writings and ceremonies?
  5. [Pirkay Avot 1:1] “…be careful and deliberate in judging…” The first behavior mentioned in Pirkay Avot is for judges to be very careful in their judgments. How does a very fair system of justice, benefit the whole society and the relationships within the society?

Commentary

The first night of Pesach brings expanded consciousness, because the light of the Creator is suddenly revealed at that time. Then the expanded mind goes away and a person falls to constricted mind. A person must then collect the holy lights one by one during the days of sfirah rising from one quality to another until one comes to the festival of Shavuot, the day of the giving of our Torah, and one returns to that original light of the first night of Pesach.

–R. Sholom Noach Berezovsky, the Slonimer rebbe, 1911- 2000, Lithuania and Israel.

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