- Torah Portion and Tanach
"If you will walk in My ways (follow My decrees) & observe My Mitzvot, and if you will perform them, then I will……"
When people think of our Sedra of B’Chukotai, they automatically think of the Tochacha, the punishments, rebukes or "curses" that come about when we stray from living a life in accordance with Hashem’s directives. And certainly the 28 p’sukim that comprise the Tochacha are the highlight – or "low-light" - of the Parsha, & we should take their ominous warnings to heart.
But we must also be careful not to neglect or gloss over the first part of the Sedra, the opening 11 verses that catalogue the blessings, the gifts that Hashem showers upon s
(literally!) when we stay faithful to Him & to the Torah. Just note how grateful we should be for all the Brachot that we have merited to enjoy in our own day:
"I will send you rain:" This winter in Israel we enjoyed rain in abundance, the most in more than a decade! The rivers & waterfalls were flowing, the Kinneret rose significantly as we ended 5 ears of drought conditions.
"The land will give its produce; the field its fruit. You will eat your bread, & you will be satiated." The bounty of Israel is amazing! Every type of fruit or vegetable is available in ample supply; no one goes hungry here. Just take a day to stroll through Tel Aviv’s Shuk Ha-Carmel or Yerushalayim’s Machane Yehuda & see the array of products there, a largesse unparalleled in our history.
"You will pursue your enemies; a hundred of you will vanquish ten thousand of them." Out-numbered though we may be, our valiant IDF armed forces continue to protect us from danger, deflecting the hostile forces on our borders on a daily basis & keeping us safe from harm.
"I will make you fruitful, & you will multiply." Israel is B"H growing! We have the highest fertility rate in the OECD, by far, & the highest number of multiple births per capita of any country; 185,000 babies were born in the last year! We are fast approaching having the majority of Jews in the world living here (if we haven’t already surpassed it!).
We bow in humble thankfulness for all these wondrous blessings we enjoy. But we are not done yet; there is another, vital promise which has yet to be fully realized: "And I will provide peace in the land…I will banish the wild beasts & no sword (violence) will pass through your land." We await the great day when the beasts of terror that periodically plague us will be completely eradicated, & full, lasting peace will reign over our nation & the world.
This blessing will come when there will be a "mirror-image" of the relationship between G-d & the Jewish People: If you (Am Yisrael) will walk in my statutes……I (Hashem) will walk among you. So, people, let’s get busy & walk the walk, not just talk the talk.