Shabbat Parashat Vaetchanan| 5764
Vaetchanan | | 1/8/2003
The first of the Ten Commandments requires us to accept Hashem as our G-d, without having any other form of deity. Yet, the Torah continues with another commandment, not to make for ourselves any molten image. It appears from the p’sukim that it is possible for one to have complete faith in Hashem and not worship another god, yet he could still be susceptible to having images of deities. What is the deeper meaning of this second commandment?
Case: A mother agreed, during a divorce settlement that the father would have custody of their small child (presently, two and a half years old), and he agreed to limited visitation rights for her. After a year, the father decided to travel abroad for six months to his parents to recuperate from the emotional strain of divorce. The mother petitioned the court to prevent the father from removing the child from Israel, stating that it would detract from her visitation rights and that she had reason to believe that the father would never return with the child. She demanded that if the father wanted to travel, the child should be given over to her custody during that period.
R. Akiva convinced R. Yehoshua that R. Gamliel had the religious authority to set the beginning of the month (and, as a result, the occurrence of Yom Kippur) even if it was an objective mistake. R. Yehoshua’s reaction was recorded as follows: “He said to him in the following wording, ‘Akiva, you have consoled me, you have consoled me.’” (Rosh Hashana 25a). When R. Akiva explained to his colleagues that the devastation they saw at the sight of the destroyed Beit Hamikdash was actually an omen to its eventual restoration, the gemara relates their reaction as follows.
This edition of Hemdat Yamim
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).