mitzvoth

Vayikra: A Book of Love

Perhaps Man’s greatest fear is his ultimate irrelevance, that we really don’t make a difference and that in the greater scheme of things, our lives are for naught. This is why people yearn to leave a legacy, and it is often for this reason that people have children. The historical tendency to value male babies over females is due to the fact that it was (is?) the male who would carry on the family name and legacy. Upon marriage, females were typically absorbed into the family of the husband.

One is Holy

One of the features of the scientific world is classification of different species into their various groupings and subgroupings. The Torah itself introduces the concept of classification of mitzvoth, identifying the categories of edot, chukim, and mishpatim. It is the question of the classification of these three categories of mitzvoth that our Sages identify as that of the chacham.

Ekev: The Big Bribe

The greatness of a person is revealed by the little things that one does. The greater the person, the more he or she is concerned with little things. Rav Yochanan ben Zakai, who was busy worrying about how Judaism could survive after the loss of Jerusalem, also pleaded with the Romans to send a doctor for Rav Tzadok (Gittin 56b), an aging pious individual who had fasted for many years as the destruction neared. In dealing with the national future of the Jewish people, he did not forget the pain of the individual.

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