parshat Bechukotai

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    The Birth of Hope
    Weekly Shiur of Rav Jonathan Sacks for the weekly portion "Bechukotai"
  • Capital before King
    In the blessings that open our parasha, Hashem promised: “I will place my Sanctuary in your midst” (Vayikra 26:11), and Chazal identify this as the Beit Hamikdash (Sifra, Bechukotai 1:3; Rashi). In order for the people to begin their preparations to accept this blessing, first the location of the Beit Hamikdash had to be decided based on prophecy (see Devarim 12:5). The Torah does not state where this place was to be, and this uncertainty continued for more than 400 years after the Exodus from Egypt.
  • The Book and Sword Wrapped Together, Given from Heaven
    “If you follow my statutes … I will send rain in its time… and you will live securely in the Land” (Vayikra 26:3-5). The Midrash commenting on this pasuk explains that fulfilling the statutes brings a person to the World to Come. The pasuk (Yeshayahu 4:3) states: “Those who remain in Zion and are left in Jerusalem, all who are inscribed for life in Jerusalem shall be called holy.” This refers to one who delves into Torah, which is the tree of life as it says: “It is the tree of life for those who cleave to it” (Mishlei 3:18). Rav Elazar commented: The sword and the book were given wrapped together from Heaven. Hashem said: “If you keep what is written in this book, you will be spared from the sword, but if not, you will be killed.” This is learned from: “He drove man out and stationed the cherubim east of the Garden of Eden, the fiery ever turning sword, to guard the way to the tree of life” (Bereishit 3:24). The way refers to derech eretz and the tree refers to Torah (Vayikra Raba, 35:6).
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