Chavarah- Jewish Community Learning

A blog of Jewish study and traditions. Notes from classes: Torah Study with Rabbi Marder, Toledot and Shabbaton as well as other details found of interest.

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Purim March 14th

About Purim

Have you read the real megilla lately? It is interesting adult reading ... not just the children's version you probably remember.

Read the Book of Esther

Read the Book on line

And then take a Purim Quiz

Quiz on Book of Esther

Interesting Purim Facts
This one is very interesting - from Orthodox site

Fun Purim Site

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Safety First

Deuteronomy 22:8 “When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, so that you so not bring bloodguilt on your house if anyone should fall from it.”

Post Katrina Response


Another Modern Commentary

The study group focused on how this is extended to more types of safety issues beyond the rooftop.

Avoid things that bring danger to life. Don't leave the open knife stuck in the melon, don't eat things that are known to be harmful, etc... it even might extend to smoking and maybe even to 'thrill-seeking activities'. Bottom line is that we are not to put ourselves in perilous danger.

On the other hand, it is part of our culture to push ourselves to our own limits to succeed.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

You must go out of your way to pursue Peace

The mitzvot (laws) in Torah apply when one finds themselves in the situation where the mitzvot applies.

The only mitzvot that you are commanded to go out of your way to fulfill is the pursuit of peace.

Torah is the Ideal on Lost & Found

The Torah presents and ethical ideal.

If you find something that is lost you return it.

The Mishna presents a more practical ideal for social order and peace.

This simple law of 'if found return it' is explained with more practical applications. There are lists of things that do not apply to the rule such as fruit or even a coin that may have been scattered. And Mishna continues to give rules for how to proclaim that an item was found to help find the owner.

Then the Gemara goes another step and instructs the finder to think if the person who lost the item would 'expect' to recover the item(s).
Mishna & Gemara on Found Items

--- Then there is the Environmental Interpretation:
We are merely a caretaker of the world and everything belongs to God. We should take care of things and then return it.

Interesting thought.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Awareness and Sensitivity

(leader: R. Micah Citrin)

The Parasha: Ki Teitzei means "when you go out " - overall message

When you are on your way... you must be sensitive to the the world around you and aware of your relation with the world.

Deuteronomy 22:6-7

If, along the road, you chance upon a bird’s nest, in any tree or on the ground, with fledglings or eggs and the mother sitting over the fledglings or on the eggs, do not take the mother together with her young. Let the mother go, and take only the young, in order that you may fare well and have a long life.

Lots of discussion on this and questions as to why this is important. The focus went in many different directions this week.

Good D'var Torah on the subject: Ki Teitzei

From the continuation of the species to a parallel with the commandment to honor parents, there are many opinions about this mitzvot.

Do we extend human feelings to the mother bird? Is this appropriate?

Is this an environmental issue?

It seems to come down to the directive to treat animals with sensitivity.

But then there is this promise of results: "fare well and have a long life".

AND there is the famous story of Rabbi Elisha Ben Abuha who describes an incident that makes this mitzvot even more perplexing: Why bad things happen to good people?