It is difficult to feel two contradictory emotions at the same time. Conflicting, if not contradictory, emotions such as joy and sadness, love and hate, fear and comfort, do not easily co-exist. As human beings constantly struggle with conflicting emotions, Judaism, wanting to give each its proper time for expression, separates differing emotions into separate days.
“Guard the month of the spring, and make Pesach to the Lord your G-d, because it was in the month of the spring that the Lord your G-d took you out of Egypt at night” (Devarim 16:1).
The land of Israel is a special, holy land and thus, all produce grown on it has properties of holiness. This is the underpinning of such laws of terumah, ma’aser, bikurim, challah, shmitah and yovel. Unfortunately, many of us see the main distinction between life in Israel and in the Diaspora in relation to the laws of agriculture. We often lose sight of the fact that it is only in Israel where all of the mitzvoth of the Torah can be put into practice, where we can have a true national identity and be a light onto the nations.
"For the sin that we have sinned before You through hardness of the heart." With the month of Elul approaching, our thoughts turn to self-evaluation and the process of teshuva. It is with the heart that we begin. The sin of hardening of one's heart is the first of the 22 pairs of al chets that are designed to facilitate thinking about and acting upon those areas in which we may need to improve.
"Guard the month of the spring and make Pesach to the Lord your G-d, because it was in the month of the spring that the Lord your G-d took you out of Egypt at night" (Devarim 16:1). Based on this verse, our rabbis derived that we must fix our calendar so that Pesach always falls in the spring. Our holidays celebrate both momentous events in Jewish history and the blessing of agriculture, acknowledging that the G-d of Creation and the G-d of History are one--a point many in the ancient world did not accept.
Showing extra sensitivity to the needs of the poor, the widow, orphan, servant, and stranger is a central theme of the Torah. This is especially so around the holidays, when the needy are more likely to feel lonely and forgotten.
This week's d'var Torah is dedicated in honour of David Polisuk by Richard Polisuk and family.
This week's d'var Torah is dedicated in honour of the upcoming wedding of Galit Sone and Adam Samuel. May they share much happiness and build a bayit ne'eman b'yisroel. Mazal-tov to the extended family. Beginning with the Aseret haDibrot, we often tend to classify mitzvoth as being either between man and G-d, or between man and man. While the interpersonal mitzvoth are also an expression of the Divine will, the distinction is a most relevant one, reflected in our attitude towards these separate (but overlapping) spheres.
This week's d'var Torah is sponsored by Al G. Brown and family in honour of the wedding of Anna-Rachel Brown Krakowsky to Marshall Haber, which will take place b'shaah tova u'mutzlachat on Sunday, August 28th.