Drash Cards for Masei (5765)
by Marc Mangel
• We are heading towards Tish B’Av. The Talmud tells us that the Temple was destroyed by Sinat Chinam (senseless hatred), which we will examine in terms of the Cities of Refuge
• We have Cities of Refuge, based on the basic postulate that the Divine Presence cannot abide in a lang polluted by murder (Ch 35, v 33).
• The 6 Cities of Refuge are for involuntary homicide and are based on an amazing set of principles
• Only the guilty party is involved; no other family member may be punished.
• Guilt is determined by intention and involuntary homicide is not put to death. The decision of voluntary/involuntary is made by the state (a national tribunal) not the bereaved
• No ransom is acceptable
• For us today. Ibn Ben Bachya in Duties of the Heart uses this as a proof text that a sin is greater if both heart and body do it.
• Another implication: A mitzvah performed without intention of doing it for the sake of heaven has no reward.
• The Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote about this parsha: All of us can be signposts for fellow Jews looking for spiritual refuge by listening, talking, showing them and even bringing them here to synagogue.
• R. Pinchas Hermann, Modern Orthodox, writes that the time leading to Tish B’Av reminds us of providing a spiritual haven for all Jews by employing ahavat chinam — senseless love — we can turn Tish B’Av into a day of rejoicing.