(Leviticus: 16:1-20:27) / (Pirkay Avot: Chapter 3)
- [19:2] “…be holy because I, God, your Lord, am holy”. The Ramban (1194-1270, Spain) tells us that one can keep all the other commandments of the Torah and still not be a proper Jew. Therefore, there is a special commandment to be holy. What must we do in addition to the other commandments of the Torah to make us holy?
- [19:18] “…and love your fellow person like you love yourself “. Is it a sin then, not to love oneself? If someone has a low self-image, and does not love himself or herself, what should he or she do? How can a person come to love him or herself? How can a person come to appreciate and love another person?
- [Pirkay Avot 3:2] “Pray for the peace of the government, because without fear of the government, each man would swallow his fellow-man alive.” Is this a pessimistic view of people or a realistic view of people? If everyone kept the Torah, would we still say that “each man would swallow his fellow-man alive”?
- [Pirkay Avot 3:2] “If two sit, and between them there are words of Torah, then the Presence of God rests between them.” Shouldn’t it say that the Presence of God rests upon them? What does it mean when it says that “the Presence of God rests between them”? In everyday terms, what is “the Presence of God”?
- [Pirkay Avot 3:7] “He who walks on the way and is learning, and he stops his learning to say, “How beautiful is that tree…”, has committed a mortal sin.”
This is usually understood to mean that whoever stops learning to admire a tree has done something very bad. Some, however, understand this to mean the following: whoever is learning and admires a tree, and thinks that the world with its trees and other beautiful things is not a part of the Torah and its world-view—that person has committed a serious sin. Which interpretation do you agree with?
[19:18] “…and love your fellow person like you love yourself “.
A learned but ungenerous man said to R. Avraham of Stretyn (mid 1800’s–Poland): “They say that you give people mysterious drugs, and that your drugs are effective. Offer me one that will give me the fear of God.”
” I don’t know any drug for the fear of God,” said R. Avraham. “But if you like, I can give you one for the love of God.”
“That’s even better!” said the man. “Just give it to me.”
“It’s the love of your fellow men,” answered the tzaddik.
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