Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Bechukotai
קטגוריה משנית
To dedicate this lesson
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This week's Torah portion of Bechukotai (Vayikra 26,3-27,34) – with which we conclude the Book of Vayikra – deals with one of the Thirteen Principles of Faith of the Nation of Israel, as enumerated by the Rambam in his commentary to the Mishna in Tractate Sanhedrin. The principle I am referring to is that G-d's supervision over the world includes reward and punishment for our actions. The Creator rewards our good deeds, and punishes those who disobey His word.


It was on this point that Moshe Rabbeinu forged a covenant between Hashem and our forefathers and representatives at Mt. Sinai. This is called the Sinai Covenant. Forty years later, on the eve of our entrance to the Land of Israel, Moshe again forged the same covenant with Israel.


The central point of the concept of "Covenant with G-d" is that every Jew must know that nothing that happens to him is happenstance; it must rather awaken him to take stock of his behavior. The Gemara in B'rachot (page 5a) teaches that if a person sees that he is undergoing unexplained suffering, he should review his deeds and try to understand where his behavior is errant. This will then arouse him to do teshuvah.


But if one has tribulations, yet still closes his eyes and does not do a self-reckoning, but continues to believe that everything going on around him is meaningless and mere coincidence – these thoughts themselves are sinful!


As the Torah states in our weekly portion: "If you are indifferent to Me and do not wish to obey Me… I too will be indifferent to you, and will increase the punishment…" (26,21-24). That is, if you think, Heaven forbid, that the punishment I am bringing upon you was not purposeful, I will punish you [even] for that thought as well, Heaven forbid.


We live in a period of incredibly critical events: On the one hand, our generation has merited, and is meriting, to return to our Land after so many centuries, while on the other hand, the threats to our country are growing even stronger. It is therefore our national and societal obligation, as a public that believes in Divine reward and punishment, to ask ourselves: "Why is this happening to us? Why have we not yet arrived at the promised salvation, in serenity and peace? There is no other country that finds itself in such an abnormal situation as ours!"


In my humble opinion, it all boils down to this: As long as our nation and government do not want to recognize the great value of Am Yisrael, and that our destiny and Divine mission is to bring faith in the Creator to the entire world, and to bring them the love of justice as well – our situation will continue to deteriorate, Heaven forbid.


We especially must internalize that there can be no separation between our Nation and our Land. Our entire Land belongs exclusively to the Nation of Israel; none of it must be given away. [Note: This was written not long after the unilateral withdrawal from Gush Katif, from which evolved the present war with Hamas.] The attempts to give parts of our Land to others are a continuation, no less, of the Sin of the Spies. It will be recalled that these spies were sent by Moshe Rabbeinu to evaluate how best to conquer the Land – and it was their sin in discouraging the nation regarding the Land that began the process of estrangement from Eretz Yisrael, leading to exile and destruction that has lasted until this very day.


The intensification of the hatred of the Gentile nations towards us is a result of our neglect of the Torah way of life. If we discount miracles and Divine supervision upon us, there is no way out of our present difficulties – other than to return to our eternal sources, not only in our individual lives, but also in turning Israel into a truly Jewish state, to the point that it will be clear to all that Israel is a state with the Torah values of the nation chosen by G-d to bring Him to the world.


With G-d's help, the day is not far off when Israel will do teshuvah, and we will all be connected to the G-d of Israel, His Nation, and His Land. May it be that we will all merit, very soon, to see the salvation of His nation and inheritance, with compassion and not in judgment!

Translated by Hillel Fendel.

את המידע הדפסתי באמצעות אתר yeshiva.org.il