– Refers to the royal commands the King gives to His people ( i.e Be Holy, for I am Holy )
Parashat Bechukotai is the last Parasha of the book of Leviticus, ( VaYikra ), which means “In My Statutes.” . VaYikra is the heart of the Torah – it is the essence of the call of HaShem to His people. The name comes from the first verse of the reading, which begins with the words “If you walk in My statutes …” (Leviticus 26:3). This last reading from Leviticus promises blessings and rewards for Israel if they will keep the Torah, but punishment and curses if they break the commandments of the Torah and also discusses laws pertaining to vows, valuations and tithes.
If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments, I will grant your rains in their season, so that the earth shall yield its produce and the trees of the field their fruit. – Leviticus 26:3-4
- God promises blessings to the Children of Israel if they follow the law and warns about the curses that will befall the people if they do not observe God’s commandments. ( Lev 26:1-46)
- Gifts made to the Sanctuary whether by conditional vows or by unconditional acts ( Lev 27:1-34)
- This week’s Torah portion begins by saying, “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out … ” (Leviticus 26:3). Isn’t that a bit redundant? What is the difference between walking in the statutes, keeping the commandments and also carrying them out? In his classic commentaries on the Torah, Rashi wondered about this too and proposed a solution. He suggested that “walking in the statutes” refers to intensive study of the Torah. “Keeping the commandments” refers to learning how the commandments of Torah are properly kept. “Carrying them out” refers to actually doing what the commandments say to do. In other words, we should study Torah for the purpose of learning it, and we should learn it for the purpose of doing it.
If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. -Leviticus 26:3-4
Hence, “My statutes,” are all those decrees and judgements, punishments, and commandments, which pertain to the place called the Oral Torah; NAMELY MALCHUT CALLED ‘statute’. “And keep My laws,” NAMELY in the place called the Written Torah, ZEIR ANPIN, as is written: “a law of the Elohim of Jacob” (Tehilim 81:5),
Therefore, “If you walk in My statutes,” is the Oral Torah; and, “and keep my Laws,” is the Written Torah. This is the totality of the Holy Name.
“And do them” (Vayikra 26:3). Rabbi Shimon discussed in the same manner the verse, “And David got himself a name” (II Shmuel 8:13). Did David do that for himself? HE ANSWERS: Since David walked in the ways of the Torah and observed the commandments of the Torah, and led the kingdom well, it is as if he made the name above. There was no king in the world who merited this like David, who used to rise at midnight and praise the Holy One, blessed be He, until the Holy Name, MALCHUT, came up with its Throne when daylight broke. THEREFORE, it is as if he really made a name. HE RAISED IT TO BE UNITED WITH ZEIR ANPIN. It is said OF THE OTHER SIDE, “and the Yisraeli woman’s son blasphemed the Name, and cursed” (Vayikra 24:11). Hence, “And David got him a name.” It therefore says, “and do them”; NAMELY, if you strive to do them, and properly construct the Holy Name, all the blessings from above will be by you properly set.
what will happen “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my precepts…” . On one hand “I will face you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers…” and on the other hand “I will set my face at you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you…”
If Not: In spite of all this, you still disobey me, I will punish you seven times over for your sins.
Four times in this portion HaShem declares, “I will chastise you seven times for your sins.” – Leviticus 26:18, 21, 24, 28.
Here are the stages of disobedience:
- Sickness, famine, and war ( Lev 26:14-17).
- Drought, destruction of the Temple ( Lev 26:18-20).
- Wild beasts, and robbed of children (Lev 26:21-22).
- Given into the hand of the enemy (Lev 26:23-26).
- Starvation, eating the young (Lev 26:27-32).
- Scattered among the nations (Lev 26:33-30).
- Repentance, Redemption, and Return ( Lev 26:40-46).
Peshat (basic meaning):
Rashi: “And if, during these” and if, while these (curses/punishments) , you (still ) will not listen to Me.
“I will add”: more sufferings of a different ( nature ). …”another seven…for your sins”
Remez (hinted meaning):
Baal HaTurim: “If during this ” The final letters [mem-dalet-hei] of these three words [“im ad elah”] spell the word Mida/measure, for G-d promises “I will measure out your recompense, measure for measure.”
Derash (interpretive meaning):
Ohr HaChayim: “if you do not listen to me”: Teshuvah is made conditional on “listening” to G-d, i.e. studying Torah. True repentance is impossible without Torah study.
“sevenfold for your sins”:
The Torah does not mean that G-d will exact seven retributions for each sin but that G-d will exact retribution for the sins of the Israel people, which number 7:
1) failure to listen
2) failure to do
3) relating to the statutes with disdain
4)loathing of G-d’s social laws
5) preventing others from doing commandments
6)breaking G-d’s covenant
7) remaining unaffected by G-d’s penalties.
This explains what the Sages meant when they said: “Three books are open on Rosh Hashanah: one contains that names of totally wicked, one contains the names of totally righteous, and one contains the names of average people whose merits and demerits are in balance. The latter are given until Yom Kippur to see if they repent, if they fail to do, they will be inscribed in the book of confirmed sinners.” (Rosh Hashanah 16)
Sod (esoteric, mystical meaning):
Zohar writings: It says of this, “I will not curse the ground any more for man’s sake” (Beresheet 8:21). What is the meaning of, “I will not curse the ground any more”? It means that He will give no more Judgments to the Prosecutors with which to destroy the world, but only as much as the world can bear. It is therefore written: “then I will punish you no more...” (Vayikra (Lev ) 26:8); He will surely give more, AS MUCH AS THE WORLD CAN BEAR.
Why would He give more? To punish you “seven times for your sins” (Ibid.). HE ASKS: Seven times? Had the Holy One, blessed be He, collected His due, THAT IS, PUNISHED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SIN, the world would not have been able to bear it for a single moment, as is written: “If You, Yah, should mark iniquities, Hashem, who could stand?” (Tehilim 130:3). Yet you say, “seven times for your sins.”
HE ANSWERS: What the verse teaches us IN SAYING, “seven times,” is this. Behold seven is before you. Who is she? She is the Sabbatical Year (lit. ‘Release Year’), NAMELY MALCHUT SWEETENED BY BINAH , which is seven. For She is called ‘seven,’ as it says, “At the end of every seven years you shall make a release” (Devarim (deut ) 15:1). The SCRIPTURE therefore SAYS, “seven times for your sins.” MALCHUT is called ‘seven’ and ALSO ‘daughter of seven’. What is the difference between them? In saying seven only, it means to have a release, to execute Judgments, and to set everyone free. She is called ‘daughter of seven’ when attached to another, ZEIR ANPIN, to illuminate and rule over her kingdom and make known the Kingship throughout the land and to everyone. She is then called ‘the daughter of seven’. Hence, it is written: “the name of the city is Beer-Sheva (lit. ‘well of seven’) to this day” (Beresheet 26:33). The well of seven is Isaac’s well. Everything is one.
Rabbi Aba said: “and I will chastise you, even I, seven times for your sins” (Vayikra 26:28). “And I will chastise you,” through other attendants, as already explained. “Even I;” “I” is ZEIR ANPIN, who is roused to save you; “seven” is MALCHUT, which is roused towards you TO SAVE YOU.
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 27b – Before Israel went into captivity, and while the Shekinah was still with them, God commanded Israel: “thou shalt not uncover thy mother’s nakedness” (Lev. XVIII, 7), and this captivity is the uncovering of the nakedness of the Shekinah, as it is written, “On account of your sins your mother has been put away” (Isaish 50, 1), i.e. for the sin of unchastity Israel has been sent into captivity and the Shekinah also, and this is the uncovering of the Shekinah. This unchastity is Lilith, the mother of the “mixed multitude”. It is they who separate the two He’s of the sacred name, and prevent the Vau from entering between them; so it is written, “the nakedness of a woman and her daughter thou shalt not uncover”, referring to the upper and lower Shekinah. When the “mixed multitude” are between the one He and the other, the Holy One, blessed be He, cannot link them together, and consequently “the river becomes dry and parched”-dry in the upper He and parched in the lower He, in order that the “mixed multitude” may not be nourished by the Vau, which is the Tree of Life. Therefore the Vau does not link together the two He’s when the mixed multitude is between them, and the letter Yod is not able to draw near to the second He’; thus the precept “thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter-in-law” is transgressed. Further, they separate the Yod from the upper He, and so break the command “thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s wife”, the Yod being the father, the first He the mother, Vau the son and the second He the daughter. Therefore it is ordained with regard to the upper He, “thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s wife”; “the nakedness of thy sister the daughter of thy father” refers to the lower He; “her son’s daughter and her daughter’s daughter” refers to the He and He which are the children of He; “the nakedness of the father’s brother” refers to the Yod, which is the product of the letter Yod, a brother to Vau. In a word, when the “mixed multitude” are mingled with Israel, the letters of the name YHVH cannot be joined and linked together; but as soon as they are removed from the world, then it is said of the letters of God’s name that “On that day the Lord shall be one and his name one” (Zech. XIV, 9). This is why Adam, who is Israel, is closely linked with the Torah, of which it is said, “It is a tree of life to those who take hold on it”; this tree is the Matron, the Sefirah Malkhuth (Kingship), through their connection with which Israel are called “sons of kings”. On this account God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Gen. II, 18). This help is the Mishnah (the oral Law), the handmaid of the Shekinah. If Israel deserve well, it is a help to them in the captivity from the side of the permitted, the clean, and the proper; if they do not deserve well, it is a hindrance to them from the side of the unclean, the unfit, and the forbidden, the clean, the permitted, and the fit signifying the good inclination, and the unfit, the unclean, and the forbidden signifying the evil inclination. Thus the Mishnah resembles the woman, who has both pure and impure blood of menstruation. But the Mishnah is not the spouse of his real union, for real union is denied to him until the “mixed multitude” shall be removed from the earth. On account of this Moses was buried outside of the Holy Land.
if you listen and obey Voice of Most High: You will be liberated
When these things start to happen, stand up and hold your heads high; because you are about to be liberated!” -Luke 21:28
Leviticus 11:44, 45; 19:2; 20:7; 20:26
Malachi 1:14 ; 3 : 8 – 12
I Chronicles 22:5,14-16; 29:2-5
1 Peter 1:15-16
II Corinthians 9:6
Parshat beHukotai concludes the book of Leviticus with a section of so-called “blessings and curses”—or better, “rewards and punishments”—that attempt to motivate readers of the book to observe G-d’s statutes and commandments.
This Midrash understands the opening phrase of our parasha, “If you walk in my laws,” as indicating the Torah’s desire that we internalize G-d’s laws thoroughly so that they become our major purpose in life. Even if we initially define our life’s journey in terms of very different goals, G-d’s laws will hopefully become our ultimate destination.
It begins: “If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments, I will grant your rains in their season…”
Long before this Midrash was composed, but long after the life of King David, the rabbinic sage Hillel is recorded by the Talmud to have said, “To the place which I love, that is where my feet guide me.” (Sukkah 53a)
But the Midrash takes a different approach. It retains the literal “walk,” and links it to the phrase in Psalms 119:59 which reads, “I have considered my ways, and have turned my steps to Your decrees”. After linking the verse in our Torah portion with this verse from Psalms, the Midrash continues, putting these words into the mouth of King David: “Master of the universe, each and every day I would decide to go to such and such a place, or to such and such a dwelling, but my feet would bring me to synagogues and study halls, as it is written: I have turned my steps to Your decrees. – psalms 119: 59
The Torah commands – Counting Omer
The Torah instruction for the omer, found earlier in the book of Leviticus, teaches: “And from that day on which you bring the sheaf of elevation offering – the day after the Shabbat – you shall count off seven weeks. They must be complete: you must count until the day after the seventh week – fifty days; then shall you bring an offering of new grain to the Lord.”
The days between Passover and Shavuot are known as the days of the Omer. These 49 days are counted as we anxiously await the 50thday – Shavuot – when we commemorate the giving of the Torah.
It is interesting to note that the Torah itself does not explicitly state that Shavuot is the day on which the Torah was given. Rather, the counting is directed towards a date of agricultural significance — new fruits would be brought to Jerusalem on Shavuot.
“You shall count from the next day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be completed: even to the next day after the seventh Sabbath you shall number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meal offering to HaShem. You shall bring out of your habitations two loaves of bread for a wave offering made of two tenth parts of an efah of fine flour. They shall be baked with yeast, for first fruits to HaShem.” -Leviticus 23:15-17
The Torah, in describing the Omer, says, “count for you” (Lev 23:15) – because each person has to do this for himself, speaking it aloud.
We mark the passage of time between Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (Pentecost) by the “counting of the omer.” A period of seven weeks is observed in which each day is counted off for 49 days ending on the fiftieth day known as Shavuot /Pentecost (Pentecost-means 50). It is the number of days from the barley harvest to the wheat harvest.
Because it begins during Passover and concludes at Shavuot, the counting of the Omer remembers the journey from Egypt to Mount Sinai.
According to Jewish tradition, the counting is done in the following prescribed manner. After the evening prayers each day, the counter recites a blessing: “Blessed are You, HaShem Our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with his commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.” Then the counter simply states, “Today is X days of the Omer.” The person counting follows his formal declaration of the omer day with a recitation of Psalm 67 and a few short petitions for spiritual cleansing and renewal. Tradition prescribes the recitation of Psalm 67 because it is composed of exactly 49 Hebrew words which correspond to the 49 days of the omer count. The Psalm is seasonally appropriate because of its harvest motif. It is spiritually appropriate because it speaks clearly of G-d’s salvation (Yeshua) being made known over all the earth.
Yeshua rose from the dead on the 1st day of the Omer. Rabbi Shaul wrote “But the truth is, Messiah was raised to life- the first fruits of the harvest of the dead.” 1st Corinthians 15:20 This festival is called “bikkurim”- first fruits.
The symbolism is strong. Just as the first Omer of barley was brought as a first fruits of the whole harvest, so too Messiah’s resurrection was a first fruits of the resurrection of the dead. This is the imagery Rabbi Shaul invokes with the words, “Messiah has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” Just as the first fruits of the barley made all the rest of the harvest kosher for harvest, so too the resurrection of Messiah makes the resurrection of the dead possible.
The counting of the Omer is likened to a bride and groom who are waiting for the day of their wedding. They have set the date and are now counting to the big event. For us, we are counting to the time on which the Torah was given on Mount Sinai; a day to which G-d revealed Himself in a manner never before revealed to man. It was a time to which our ancestors looked forward to and indeed so do we. Let’s work together this year as we keep the mitzvah of Counting the Omer. Let’s express the resurrected life within us by doing more mitzvot and spreading more joy.
Acceptable year of the Lord and Day of Vengeance :
First Appearance is to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord for initiating Jubilee release as a sign of Mashiach ( i.e Torah framework Good News of Redemption for the house of Israel)
The Book of Luke says, that Yeshua read the scroll of Isaiah on Shabbat,
“He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. He entered, as was his custom, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the scroll, and found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the HaShem is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” He closed the scroll, gave it back to the shammash, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began to tell them, Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” -Luke 4:16-21
Yeshua’s intentionally closed the scroll, as the Redemption would occur in the processes: Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David.
“The Spirit of the Lord HaShem is on me; because HaShem has anointed me to proclaim good news to the humble. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the HaShem’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our G-d; to comfort all who mourn…” -Isaiah 61:1-2
Second Appearance : Salvation those who are waiting eagerly and Vengeance those who does not trust his Good News of Redemption
The second half of the verse would be accomplished – only if Israel repent and were worthy to receive the mission of Mashiach ben David.
As the book of Hebrews tells us:
so Messiah was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. -Hebrews 9:28
As the book of Thessalonians tells us:
For it is justice for G-d to pay back trouble to those who are troubling you, and to give rest along with us to you who are being troubled, when the Lord Yeshua is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in a fiery flame. Then he will punish those who don’t know G-d, that is, those who don’t listen to the Good News of our Lord Yeshua and obey it. -2 Thessalonians 1:6-8
It is Mashiach ben David who resurrects Mashiach ben Yosef, and this process fuses the two Meshichim into one. Kol HaTor remarks on the these two functionalities,
“…at the beginning of the Redemption, when the wood of Yosef and the wood of Judah are “pieces of wood in your hand, ” when they are still divided into two, on the level of the awakening from below. At the time of the complete redemption, however, when the two pieces of wood have become “one in My hand” (the hand of God), then the meshichim will be like two inseparable friends; they will have become one, they will have become the King Mashiach who is on the level of the trustworthy friend of the final redeemer, Moshe Rabbeinu, may he rest in peace.”
Kol HaTor, Chapter 2, Section 2, 1, translated by R’ Yechiel bar Lev and K. Skaist, pg.70 – R’ Hillel Shklover continues,
“(Ez. 37:19) the wood of Yosef – This refers to Mashiach ben Yosef for the entire Redemption depends on the unification of the two pieces of wood: the wood of Yosef and the wood of Judah (as it states in this chapter). They are the two meshichim: Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David, who at first, i.e., when the Redemption starts naturally from below, will be separate individuals in “your hand” [Ez. 37:17]. Afterwards, they will become one in “My hand” [Ez. 37:19], the hand of God – that is, miraculously, with the help of the clouds from Heaven.”
Kol HaTor, 2.101, translated by R’ Yechiel bar Lev and K. Skaist, pg. 81
the Dead Sea Scrolls, connecting the Redeemer to Melchizedek:
“Its interpretation for the last days refers to the captives, about whom he said: “To proclaim liberty to the captives.” (Isa 61:1)… they are the inheritance of Melchizedek, who will return to them what is rightfully theirs. He will proclaim to them the Jubilee, thereby releasing them from the debt of all their sins…he shall atone for all the Sons of Light…this is the time decreed for the “Year of Melchizedek’s favor” (Isa 61:2)…just as it is written concerning Him in the songs of David, “Elokim will stand up in the Assembly of El, in the midst of the elim, He judges.” (Psalm 82) . . . it is written concerning Him, “Who proclaims to Tziyon, your Elokim reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7). “Your Elokim” is Melchizedek, who will deliver from the power of Belial.” Dead Sea Scrolls, 11Q13, The Coming of Melchizedek, Modified translation of The Dead Sea Scrolls, Abegg, Wise and Cook, pg. 591-592
Galut and Return your captivity:
Galut or Golus classically refers to the exile of the Israel people from the Land of Israel. There were altogether four such exiles. These are said to be alluded to in Abraham’s biblical vision of the future of his descendants according to Bereishit Rabba (44:17): “And behold, a great, dark fear fell upon him.” “’Fear’ refers to Babylonia … ‘dark’ refers to Media. … ‘great’ refers to Greece…. ‘fell upon him’ refers to Edom.’”
And now, though Israel are in exile, the Holy One, blessed be He, is with them, and does not leave them. When Israel are released from the exile, G-d will return with them, as it is written: “the L-rd your G-d will return your captivity.” (Deuteronomy 30:3) Indeed, ” the L-rd your G-d will ( himself ) return;”
Which is why he could faithfully declare in Romans 11:26, “And so all Israel will be saved...” Amen!!! Baruch HaShem!!
BECHUKOSAI – From Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
IF YOU WILL GO IN MY STATUTES
Our parshah, BECHUKOSAI, puts the seal on the book of Leviticus, which is the “heart” of the Torah (Genesis being the “head”, Exodus the “arms”, Numbers the “legs” and Deuteronomy the “mouth”, Malchus). BECHUKOSAI marks the conclusion of G-d’s revelation to Moses in the Sanctuary in the camp at Sinai and the sealing of the Sinaitic Covenant, while the coming book of Numbers recounts the journeying of the Children of Israel on their way to the Promised Land.
As the seal on Leviticus, the book of the “heart”, BECHUKOSAI addresses the two sides of the heart: love and fear. Our love of G-d is aroused by the promises of blessing if we will GO in His statutes, while our fears are aroused by the dire punishments for failure to do so.
What does it mean to GO in His statutes? This is explained by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov:
The life of Torah and mitzvos should be one of constantly striving to move forward from level to level in our fulfillment of the actual commandments. In every commandment that we carry out, there is a level of meaning that we can grasp within our minds, yet at the same time, the mitzvah has profoundly deeper meaning that is now beyond our grasp. These two levels are those of NA’ASEH (“we will do”) and VENISHMA (“we shall hear”) respectively. NA’ASEH applies to that which is within our grasp now, the physical mitzvah with its plain intention — WE WILL DO. We must go ahead and do it now on the simple level even if as yet we do not have deeper understanding, even if the level of VENISHMA, WE SHALL HEAR — understanding — is still beyond us. To GO in G-d’s statutes means to strive constantly to turn that which is as yet beyond us — our VENISHMA — and make it into our NA’ASEH, something that we CAN meaningfully accomplish. This is brought about when we pray to G-d to help us in our practice and to give us deeper understanding. Deeper understanding also depends upon deeper study.
When we thus turn what was our VENISHMA into a new level of NA’ASEH — because we now incorporate our newly attained, deeper insight into our practice — we thereby discover that a new level of VENISHMA opens up ahead of us. It is this higher level of VENISHMA that we must now strive to attain and turn into a new, higher level of NA’ASEH for ourselves. We must continue this way striving to go from level to level, constantly integrating new levels of understanding into our practice. Thus we constantly GO from level to level in our practice (Likutey Moharan Part I, Torah 22).
AND IF NOT.
Rashi in his commentary on BECHUKOSAI explains how the terrible penalties for failure to follow the path of the Torah are built upon a seven-fold schema, because the essential cause of the exile was the violation of the Sabbath and the Sabbatical years. At the very core of the sins that invoke the terrible cycle of punishment are seven basic sins, each of which drags the next in train: (1) Neglect of study. (2) Neglect of practice. (3) Despising others who practice. (4) Hatred of the sages. (5) Preventing others from practicing. (6) Denial of the divine origin of the commandments. (7) Denial of the existence of G-d.
Graphic illustrations of the fulfillment of all of the terrible penalties described in our parshah in actual Jewish history are recounted in the Midrash. The infringement of the seven basic sins causing the exile has been a recurrent theme in all of Jewish history from biblical times until today. The rebellion of the Ten Tribes under Jereboam son of Nevat against the House of David under Rehav’am represented a craving for greater license than was permitted by the House of David, whose royalty depends upon constant study of the Torah and in particular the oral tradition. Under the northen king Ahab [whose influence is said to have been worldwide], hatred and persecution of the sages — the prophets — became institutionalized. Later on, the Assyrian King Sennacharib’s chief spokesman marching against Jerusalem under Hezekiah was a renegade Jew, Ravshekah.
After the end of the Babylonian exile, the return to the land and the building of the Second Temple, new challenges to the authority of the Torah arose, such as from those who denied the afterlife or the oral law, or denied the giving of the Torah at Sinai. Among the most notorious enemies of the Torah were those who hellenized in the Second Temple period, when it was “politically correct” to be Greek. The festival of Chanukah commemorates the miraculous saving of the authentic Torah pathway from the assault upon it by Greek culture.
During the long exile since the destruction of the Second Temple, the Jews who have remained faithful to the Torah of Moses have been surrounded until today by a most formidable cultural assault against their own tradition from the two younger sister religions, Christianity and Islam. This two have gained the ascendancy and taken all the glory, parading their own alternative Torahs in the face of the Torah of Moses.
It is understandable that over the generations, many Jewish souls, subject to this cultural onslaught, have fallen victim to the allurements of the surrounding religions. In addition, since the time of the European renaissance and the “Age of Reason”, secularism has become a new alternative to religion of any kind, creating yet another allurement from the stringent code of Judaism, which looks more irrelevant than ever in the modern world.
In this way the Torah of Sinai has been apparently completely marginalized by almost the entire world. The Sinai tradition is guarded by seemingly powerless networks of rabbis and their students, sitting in the Yeshivahs, daily studying the oral tradition as brought down in the Talmud, and by the numerically tiny proportion of the world’s population who are Torah-observant.
What is it about the real Torah that makes those who love her cling to her even in the face of adversity on every side? Throughout the generations until today, those who keep the Torah of Moses and abstain from the 39 forbidden labors on the Sabbath have been the butt of every jester and jeerer. Meanwhile Christianity, Islam and every other religion are on the ascendant, including the religion of Satanism and the universal religion of self-indulgence and material consumption.
What love is it that makes those who strive to follow the authentic Torah of Moses continue day after day in the face of all this? How do we keep on GOING in the Torah, even though her face is shrouded in a dark cover — for in this upside down world, the deeper meaning of the Torah is not revealed?
But if we keep studying the Torah, she will reveal her face to us. The way to keep GOING in the Torah is to GO ON STUDYING the Torah!
In the merit of our study of the book of Leviticus and our on-going study of all the Five Books of Moses, may we be blessed with all the blessings of our parshah: “If you will GO in My statutes.”
Shabbat Shalom!!! – Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
Haftarot Bechukotai – In My statutes ( Jeremiah 16:19-17:14)
Our portion from the Prophets is Bechukotai ( “in My statutes” ) . Beloved, it is disobedience to these commands that led to Israel’s seventy year captivity in Babylon. Our second half-portion from the Prophets this week again comes from Jeremiah and this time is tied to the consequences for disobeying G-d regarding the seven year rest for the Land. We read this at the end of II Chronicles:
The 70-year Babylonian exile was to fulfill the word of HaShem by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years. -II Chronicles 36:21
And from haftarat Bechukotai:
And you, even yourself, shall let go of your heritage which I gave you; and I will cause you to serve your enemies in the land which you do not know; for you have kindled a fire in My anger which shall burn forever. -Jeremiah 17:4
Hope is there? A healing. A healing for the people. A healing for the Land. My Beloved ones ! Redemption draws nigh!!!
From the last verse of haftarah Bechukotai:
Heal me, O HaShem, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise. -Jeremiah 17:14
We will see that the children of Israel return to Most High and Torah of Mashiach, And will hug in the Holy Land, and by obeying and listening the “VOICE of Most Ancient Holy One of Israel”, will bring offerings in a righteous way on the holy mountain and also bring the Ark of the covenant with pure heart in the right place ( i.e In Har HaBayit, on the foundation Stone) .
We will Welcome the son of David on Mount Zion, Jerusalem.
[ Ha Khadosh Baruch Hu – Baruch HaBa B’Shem Adonai ] – Gaddi, President, BetYisrael International.
Gaddi – President