This Weeks Haftorah
Rabbi Levi Langer

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Haftorah Bamidbar

"It will be on that day, says Hashem, that you will call, 'My Husband,' and you will no longer call Me, 'My Baal [Master].'" (Hoshea 2:18)

In our struggle to live as good Jews, we sometimes find that our observance of Torah and mitzvos causes obstacles to be thrown up in our path. It isn't hard to find examples of this. We cannot make use of some of the non-Jewish forms of entertainment. Or our lifestyle may make it difficult for us to "get ahead." And at times we may come to think of the mitzvos as an imposition, as something forced upon us.

But the truth is that it is through observance of the mitzvos that one achieves one's full potential. The mitzvos serve to bring out one's capacity for experiencing the fullness of life.

And one day, explains Mendel Hirsch, we will cease calling Hashem 'Our Baal' (Our Master), for our understanding of Hashem's service will go beyond that. On that day, we will finally have fully recognized that our service of Hashem is not something imposed from without. Rather, it is through this that we can find our true selves.

CORRECTION: Oops! Last week we inadvertantly mixed up the reasons given by the nations for rejecting Hashem's Torah. As recorded in the Midrash (Mechilta Yisro), Esau couldn't accept the prohibition against murder. Ammon and Moab couldn't accept the prohibition on incest, and Yishmael couldn't accept the prohibition against thievery. I'm glad that this was brought to my attention, for it proves that someone is actually reading this. Also, it gives me a chance to correct my mistake. "Shabeshta," says the Talmud, "Keivan d'al, al!"

Copyright (c) 1997 by Rabbi Levi Langer

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