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Parsha Bechukotai




Values manifesting themselves in agriculture


 And not only prosperity, even peace: “None shall make you afraid; neither shall sword go through your land.” (Lev. 26:6)

As we all know, there is a second side to the covenant: What are the consequences on violating it and going astray? These are horrifying expressions of despair and destruction, such as: “I will make your heaven iron and your earth as brass.” (26:19) And many others.

What is the spiritual condition we need to gain, so we would be considered worthy and fulfilling the covenant? “And I will walk among you, and will be your G-d, and you shall be My people. I am the L-rd thy G-d, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, from servitude, and I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk upright.”

The nation of redeemed slaves is commanded to create a holy society, where mutual responsibility and social justice are practised regularly. These values are enshrined within the early religious legislation.

Especially they manifest themselves in the agriculture realm, binding between the man (“Adam”) and the land (“Adama”). In this parsha we learn about vows of dedication and once again, about the commandment of the “Yovel”, the Jubilee, which is supposed to realign the initial-primal agricultural system, making sure that a field shall belong to its original tribal owner or to its closest relative.

The Jubilee calls for freedom in the land. We stand at the last parsha of the Book of Leviticus. What started as rituals of sacrificial worship has revealed to be a “Seder-Am”, law and order of a nation, defining unity which is submitted to the beloved Holy One alone.

This parsha states twice, at the end of each major section of rules, that the origin of those commandments is Mt Sinai. It is true. The breath of fire which demands justice, justice is indeed from Sinai, but the scent of the field is the one of the Land of Israel.

Haftorah: It would be awkward not to acknowledge the vivid discussion which developed as a reaction to my last letter in this newspaper. Orthodox called to support me and Progressives to spill on me wrath. Also the other way around took place.

This week’s Haftorah shares with us the Prophet Jeremiah and his faith in Hashem who is searching the heart, trying the reins to give to each man according to his deeds. My hope was to evoke the discourse in this regard. Now it is awake and the process has begun.

People ask questions, people stop to think for themselves, something happens. May we be, as invites us the prophet to be: “Trees planted on the waters, his roots by the rivers spread out, shall not fear as the heat comes, for fresh is his leaf, shall not seize from yielding fruits even in years of drought.” (Jeremiah 17:8)

Amen, So be it.

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