Bechukotai 5779-2019

“The Big ‘IF.’ The Gift of Free Choice”
(Revised and updated from Bechukotai 5760-2000)

The little Hebrew word “im“–“if,” that begins the verse, “If you follow my decrees” is a critical word for all of humankind. It implies that all human beings have a very special gift from G-d–-freedom to choose. Our Torah does not speak of predestination, it speaks of choice. Even the Hebrew word for faith, “Emunah,” begins in Hebrew with the same letters as im, implying choice.

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Bechukotai 5776-2016

“The Tochaycha–G-d’s Daunting Reproof of Israel"

The Tochaycha repeats the dire prediction that G-d will punish those who fail to abide by the Torah “sevenfold for their sins.” The Midrash maintains that there is a seven-step process for those who abandon the Al-mighty and walk away from Jewish life.

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Bechukotai 5774-2014

“The Role of Exile in Jewish Theology”

What is the purpose of exile and what role does exile play in Jewish history?

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Bechukotai 5771-2011

"Peace--The Greatest of All Blessings"

G-d’s reproof of the Jewish people always begins with abundant blessings. The series of blessings that precede the reproof in parashat Bechukotai conclude with perhaps the most exalted of all blessings–-the blessing of peace.

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Bechukotai 5768-2008

"The Double-Edged Sword"

There are two faces to peace and two faces to the sword. Sometimes peace prevails because of internal brotherly love. At other times, peace is imposed from the outside. When people live in harmony with one another then the sword is an instrument of death. However, when people cannot live in peace with one another, then external threats of the sword can be a blessing that brings unity to the people.

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Bechukotai 5765-2005

"Achieving Peace and Security for the Jewish People"

Parashat Bechukotai pronounces the ultimate formula for achieving peace for the Jewish people. G-d declares: "Im bechukotai tay'lay'choo," if the Jewish people wish to attain peace and ultimate blessing, they must follow My decrees and observe My commandments and perform them. Security is a factor of the Jewish people's relationship with G-d.

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Bechukotai 5763-2003

"Ma'aser Shay'nee, the Second Tithe"

From their earliest days of nationhood, the Jewish people understood that Jewish education was to be the peoples' foremost concern and should be their primary charitable priority. The donations of Ma'aser Shay'nee, the second tithe, were to be used or redeemed in Jerusalem, which served as a spiritual center and educational hub of Israel-in effect affirming the primacy of Jewish education.

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Bechukotai 5760-2000

"The Big 'If': Reflection of Free Choice"

The little word "im"--"if," that begins the verse, "If you follow my decrees" is a critical word for all of humankind. It implies that all human beings have a very special gift from G-d-- freedom to choose. Our Torah does not speak of predestination, it speaks of choice. Even the Hebrew word "Emunah," faith, begins in Hebrew with the same letters as im, implying choice.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes