Drash Cards for Nitzavim-VaLeilech (5761)
by Marc Mangel
• To begin: here’s a factoid. Human gerontologists will tell you that the limit of human life span is 120 years but most will also say that they don’t know why.
• They should check in Ch 31, v 2 where 120 years as maximum life span is given.
• Elul themes: All sages but Sa’adiah Gaon include teshuvah as one of the 613 commandments, but they dispute where in the Torah this is to be found
• Ramban says that Ch 30, v 2 refers to teshuvah.
• Rambam says the teshuvah is confession, regret, and forsaking sin
• Today when we think of the mourner’s Kaddish, we think of it as a way of dealing with grief.
• In the middle ages, the ‘modern’ interpretation of the kaddish was that it elevates the soul. I like that
• Right up until 1941 there was question about whether or not we say Kaddish for martyrs.
• In 1389, Jacob Moellin said yes — the you die does not absolve the way you live. That is, a holy death does not equal a holy life; the martyred may have sinned and and their souls need to be raised.
• In 1941, 9000 Jews in the Kovno ghetto were killed on 28 Oct. Their Rabbi, Ephraim Oshny, asked the same question and answered it quoting Moellin.