(Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9)

(Haftara: Isaiah 51:12-52:12)

(Chodesh Elul)

  1. [17:14] “..and you will say, “I will put over myself a king like all the nations…”  The king, apparently, is the political leader, and the High Priest is the religious leader.  Wouldn’t it unify the nation more to have one person as both the religious and the political leader? Why didn’t the Torah command one leader?
  1. [17:20] “So that his heart will not be lifted up above his brothers…” Isn’t a king supposed to be above the other people?  What is the function of a king who is not above the other people?
  1. [21:1] “If a corpse is found on the land…” A very symbolic ceremony is carried out by the elders of the closest town to the corpse. The Rambam, one of our main authorities, says that this ceremony is for publicizing the murder and arresting the murderer. If the Rambam is correct, why did the Torah make this ceremony seem so symbolic and meaningful?
  1. [Haftara: Yeshaya 52:12] “You will not go out in a rush, or by fleeing…” When the Jews will return from Babylon, they will return in a relaxed way. What is the significance of returning in a relaxed way?  Why is this different from the very hasty way that the Israelites left Egypt (Shmot 12:11)?
  1. [Elul] “…God is my light…” From the first day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, we say Psalm 27 twice a day. What is the meaning of “God is my light”?  What makes this psalm suitable for the month which is a preparation for the High Holy Days?

Commentary

Tshuvah is the healthiest feeling of the soul. A healthy soul in a healthy body inevitably comes to the great happiness of Tshuvah.  One feels the greatest natural delight in Teshuvah.  The elimination of all bad spiritual  influences must come when one is both spiritually and physically healthy.

-R. Avraham Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, 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