This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
A Question of Emphasis
The Midrash on this week's parshah quotes an interesting argument between Rabbi Levi and the sages as to the primacy of G‑d's commandments. Rabbi Levi felt that the recitation of Shema is the primary mitzvah. The sages felt that observing the Shabbat is primary.
We can understand their difference of opinion in the following manner. The difference between Shabbat and Shema is that Shabbat is a holy day even if we don't observe it. Shema, on the other hand, is created by our performance. If we recite the Shema it becomes reality, if we don't it is merely a concept. Shema is an action, Shabbat is an existence in time.
Fusing Idealism and Realism
There are two types of people: the idealists and the realists. The idealistic folks dream of a world with social justice, body-soul synchrony, environmental conservation, and of living with higher consciousness. The realistic people invest in practical and obtainable goals like financial security, time management and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Personally, I resonate with both the idealist and the realist. I think we're probably all a composite of both, albeit a little more of one side than the other.
Beating Around the Bush
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, of blessed memory, former Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel, related:
“The Rebbe once learned of a scheme to personally humiliate one of the Israeli prime ministers. He made every effort to stop the individuals from doing so. He said, ‘To rebuke their actions, yes; to humiliate them, no.’