This Shabbos, was a special Shabbos as it is the yahrzeit of David’s father, HaRav Natan Ben HaRav Shmuel (aka Dr. Rav. George N. Schlesinger). Much of the material that we learn every Shabbos originates with Dr. George Schlessinger. This Shabbos, we had an additional Kiddush and learning at Young Israel, that was in honor of his memory. May his memory be for a blessing.
We spent most of the time discussing Tu B’av. The Talmud considers this the greatest festival of the year. Why is this so? There are several reasons that we discussed. First, this is the day that marked the end of our time in the desert. After 40 years, an entire generation had given way to a new generation and now we were ready to continue our journey into Israel. Second, lives were actually saved on this date. Some of the original Exodus generation’s lives were spared. Third, we also discussed how on this date tribes were permitted to intermarry. And finally, at Young Israel David spoke about how this is the day single woman would go to the vineyards. This can make it a great day for singles. We also discussed how there is a full moon on this day.
This Shabbos, David discussed an article written by his father that appeared in Chai magazine. The article is entitled “The First Commandment”. As we know, this is the commandment that indicates we should believe in Hashem.
This may create a problem to begin with, because it would seem we need to believe in Hashem, before we would follow a commandment from Hashem, that we believe in Hashem. In the article, Dr. Schlesinger discusses the logic and nature of our belief (or lack of belief) in Hashem.
The article starts off discussing the teachings of Wasserman, that we all have and are born with a strong belief in Hashem, however some of us block this belief off. The article goes on to discuss that belief in Hashem is actually a decision that we all make, that is (or should be) based on logic and reason, rather than something that we are born with, or feel in our gut.
David talked about how his father would point out just how important this decision is, whether or not to follow the first commandment and believe in Hashem. He would suggest we are betting our life on this decision. This decision we make becomes the foundation of our entire philosophy of life, which leads to how we live our life and perceive everything.
We then went on to discuss a second article written by Dr. Rav. George Schlesinger, which also appeared in Chai magazine. This article is entitled “The Leadership of Moshe Rabeinu”. The article discusses how Moshe was not interested in power, status and/or prestige. For example, Moshe would be more interested in helping to judge and resolve disputes that were hard to settle, than in helping to judge and resolve disputes that involved the most important matters.
The article discusses how Moshe was willing to put aside his own personal needs for the good of the Jewish people. Moshe was interested in using the abilities Hashem gave him as effectively as possible. Moshe had a lot of humility. He had the opportunity to have his own nation, but told Hashem that he should be the first to go and was not interested in this honor. In fact, Moshe did not want to become a leader to begin with.
We have had a lot of discussions and learning about how we each have a role to play in the community. Moshe was interested in playing his position on the team, but was more concerned with how the team was doing as a whole, than on himself personally. The article discusses how this makes for a man with great character, and this is what made him such a great leader.
This Shabbos, we also discussed the parsha Pinchus. Dave W pointed out the small yud in the parsha, and how this represents those who did not feel as great as Joshua the next leader. We also discussed how Joshua had to relate to Pinchus in order to add some more aggressiveness to his personality.
This is a summary of what we discussed. No Halachic rulings are intended or should be inferred