98: Introduction to Shema I: the Imperative of Shema

Harnessing the power of emotion with will and determination to break through the barrier to the supernatural.

Sara Kaufman, who attended this shiur, adds a valuable and moving insight: realizing the lengths to which Hashem goes to hold tight to Menashe and to bring him back to wholeness with Him, evokes a deep feeling of the awesome bond Hashem has made with each of us, in the gift of being part of the Jewish people. 

A promise of never being abandoned or written off, no matter how far we go astray; a covenant to always hear us and keep a door open for us to come back when our Teshuva is real; a vow to watch each of us personally, whatever it takes. 

״הקב״ה נוהג עמהם במדת ישרות בעוה״ז, ונותן להם שכרם משלם לעוה״ב. אמר הקב״ה בני הפכפכים הם סרבנים הם טרחנים הם. לכלותם אי אפשר, להחליפם אי אפשר, להחזירם למצרים אי אפשר. ומה אעשה להם? אייסרם ביסורין וקונסן ברעבון …״ 

 מדרש רות, פתיחתא 3ת

Handout:
Menashe and the Imperative of "Shema!" | Source Sheet

97: Siyum Baruch SheAmar and Transition to Shema

"Who is it that appears to your inner self in all this awakening? It is God, Who is revealed to you by the history of your ancestors, Who in every age and generation is the all mighty, the all-sustaining, judging and guiding providence.

"...What should you be in this newly awakened world? What should you be in this choir of servants? You also should be a servant. You also should dedicate all your powers unitedly to His service. As His creating word calls forth the sun, and summons the light of the world, so has God's love appointed Israel as the bearer of the light of spirit and life, and as the bearer of the Torah."

— Rav S.R. Hirsch, Horeb, par. 628

 

Handout:
Transition from Pesukei DeZimra to Shema

96: Unique Providing for the Manifold of Life | יחיד חי העולמים

Rabbi S.R. Hirsch, “The Nineteen Letters”, Third Letter:

…[God] created an abundance of forces… and then He separated them, so that each had to sustain the other: none was henceforth able to exist and function by itself, but had to be sustained by fellow creatures and , in turn, had to help them exist and function. In this way, everything contributes according to its strength, however much or little, to the existence of the whole; and if it destroys a fellow creature, it robs itself of what it needs for its own existence.

 

Thus … the seed, after germination in the ground, is taken from the earth to become the ripened fruit, so that the earth will have to receive again in order to give again. Thus one immense bond of love, of receiving and giving, unites all beings. None exists by itself and for itself; there is a constant striving of each creature with, through and for the others, on behalf of the whole, and of the whole on behalf of every creature. Everything receives strength and resources not for itself as such, but merely in order to give, to give and thereby to attain fulfillment of the purpose of its existence.

“ה stands for love,” say our Sages; “love, sustained and sustaining, characterizes the Creation of the earth.

Everything in it whispers to you: “Love”.

Handouts:

יחיד חי העולמים

85: Chanuka: Fiery Determination to Sanctify God's Name

“You should show by your example, and bear witness by your deeds, that the true son and true daughter of Israel hold nothing higher than God and fulfillment of His Divine Will. And you shall, if it be necessary, willingly seal this testimony with your life, in that, if it must be, you offer it up in order to preserve your loyalty to God and to inspire such loyalty in your brethren. You will achieve more by your death than by your life, for you leave behind to the congregation of Israel an eternal example of faith which will inspire your children and your children’s children to a life of saintliness. 

"But if you sacrifice yourself to the hallowing of the Holy Name, do not expect a miracle to save you. Leave it in God’s hands. He alone can judge which is more worthwhile: death in the present or the life that might be left to you.” 

— Rav S.R. Hirsch, Horeb, "Kiddush Hashem"

Handouts:

Pachad Yitzchak Chanuka Maamar A

Baruch Gozer UMekayem | Gevura as Ultimate Chessed