Shelach, Part 2


Last week’s Apostolic portion was Mark 10:1-45. In it we find the story of the “rich young man.”

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:17-22 ESV)

Matthew records the young man’s response as:

“All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” (Matthew 19:20)

This brings to mind a passage in b.Sota 22b, which lists the seven types of Pharisees. Type #6 is, “The  [p. 113] Pharisee [who constantly exclaims] ‘What is my duty that I may perform it?’” The question is then asked, “Isn’t this a virtue?” The response is, “Nay, what he says is, ‘What further duty is for me that I may perform it?’,” which implies that there is nothing left for him to do.

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