Vayikrá / Lev. 26:3 – 27:34
Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19 – 17:14
Brit Hadashah: Matittiyahu / Mt. 16:20-28
Bechukotai signifies “in my statutes“.
Thus begins our Parashat: Vayikra / Lev. 26:3
אִם־בְּחֻקֹּתַי תֵּלֵכוּ וְאֶת־מִצְוֹתַי תִּשְׁמְרוּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָֽם׃
Im-bejukotay teleju ve’et-mitzvotay tishmeru va’asitem otam.
“If you walk in my statutes and keep my commandments to put them into action”
The Hebrew word that has been translated as “my statutes” is chukotai.
As we have said before, a commandment that is called chuk is a type of commandment that has no logical explanation and is understandable at first glance. This is the most difficult kind of commandment for man, because not only does he have to strive to fulfill it, but he also must fight a battle in his mind when it comes to obeying it. Not quite understanding the reason why it must keep such commandments, the natural mind tends to rebel itself and despise the chuk.
For this reason, the mind that has not been transformed by the Torah will not help man to put into action the commandments of a chuk character. The chuk is the commandment that most elevates man spiritually because it creates in man obedience without logic. Without the mind supporting him and thus forcing him to climb to a higher spiritual level.
Obedience to chuk has to do with a father-son relationship. The son does not understand why the father orders something but obeys simply because the father has said so, not because there is an explanation of why he must do this or that.
Our obedience to the commandment chuk creates a relationship of obedience on a deeper level in spirit and in love. Even if we don’t understand, we obey, simply because Dad has told us. Therefore, chuk elevates us above the natural, the logical, what is obvious, according to human reasoning, and brings us to a spiritual height of deep relationship and revelation with our heavenly Father.
The commandments of a chuk character are intimately linked to the Messiah. That’s why they’re so important.
In addition to having to face resistance to fulfill the commandment chuk in our body and mind, we also receive the attacks of the enemies of the Torah. Since they cannot understand the reason, these statutes were given, they mock us and our Father who gave us the Torah to be fulfilled. So, the main “temptation” we have is that we stop keeping the commandments of a chuk character.
Therefore, this text first mentions these kinds of commandments.
If we walk in the chukot of HaShem and keep the rest of his commandments by putting them into action, not only studying them or talking about them or thinking about fulfilling them but truly transforming them into a daily coexistence in our lives, THEN we will receive all the blessings that are involved in the covenant. This verse begins with one of the most important words of Scripture: conditional “if,” in Hebrew im. This word puts man in a position of authority to choose. With the giving of the Torah man is no longer a slave, he is free. He has the freedom to choose between blessing and curse. He has the power in his mouth and in his hands to choose between life and death. This authority was given to the people of Israel through the covenant at Sinai.
This teaches us that each of us has the ability in our mouths and in our hands to change the course of our lives. But we do not have that power in ourselves, but HaShem has given it to us. Through the giving of His Torah and covenants to Israel, we have received the authority to direct our lives and the lives of our children. We can choose how we want our future to be.
It is possible that our situation may be miserable because of the curses that have reached us for our own sins, the sins of our fathers and our nation. But HaShem has given us the power to change the future of our lives and our nation.
How does that power manifest itself?
By means of a single word: im.
If we obey the statutes and the rest of the commandments, then our future and the future of our nation will be changed. Both the obedience and disobedience of an individual can change the course of an entire nation. You have in your hand the power to change this nation.
How? Through your obedience to the commandments.
Do you want to change your life for the better? Obey the commandments that apply to you.
Do you want to change this nation? Put the chukot to work.
If everyone else sins, you don’t have to sin because of it. If everyone else breaks the Torah, you don’t have to break the Torah because of it.
You can go against the grain and be different, be holy, be light and salt. This is your calling.
If you want to be obedient, HaShem will help you be faithful in the midst of a perverse and evil generation. The power is in your mouth and in your hands, use it!
The Hebrew word im begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the alef. The last letter of the blessings section, in verse 13, is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the tav. So, in these verses, there is a summary of the whole message of Scripture from beginning to end, from the aleph to the tav.
What’s the message? If you are faithful, you will be blessed in every way.
Obedience is what brings blessings into our lives. Disobedience brings curses on personal, family, and national life.
Do you want to be blessed with riches, peace, and the presence of HaShem, according to the promises of these verses?
How can you achieve this? It is not through the study of the Torah. Nor is it through prayer without ceasing. Nor is it by giving money to the poor or to the work of HaShem. It is not through praise or other sacrifices.
It is through obedience.
Obedience is better than sacrifices, as written in 1 Samuel 15:22: “And Shmuel said, Is HaShem pleased both in offerings of ascension and sacrifices and in obedience to the voice of HaShem? Behold, obedience is better than a sacrifice, and paying attention, than the thickness of rams.”
Obedience to the Torah is the way to blessing.
Obedience to the commandments found in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy is the way to prosperity, as written in Joshua 1:7-8: “Just be strong and very brave; beware of fulfilling all the Torah that Moses my servant commanded you; do not deviate from it either to the right or to the left, so that you succeed wherever you go. This Torah scroll will not depart from your mouth, but you will meditate on it day and night, so that you may take care to do all that is written in it; for then you will prosper your path and succeed.”
Some will say, “It is impossible to keep all the commandments.”
“HaShem did not give the Torah to be fulfilled because man is not capable of doing so.”
Then a question arises:
Why did the heavenly Father give a Torah to the man that is impossible for him to fulfill?
Doesn’t the Torah itself say that the commandment is not too difficult?
It is written in Devarim/Deut. 30:11-16: This commandment that I command you today is not very difficult for you, nor is it out of your reach. It is not in heaven, for you to say, “Who will go up for us to heaven to bring it to us and make it heard so that we may keep it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, for you to say, “Who will cross the sea for us to bring it to us and to make it hard to us, so that we may keep it?” For the word is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, for you to keep. Look, I have put before you today life and good, death and evil; for I command you today to love HaShem your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his decrees, that you may live and multiply, that HaShem your God may bless you in the land that you are to enter to possess it.”
If it were impossible to fulfill the Torah,
How is it possible that David says of himself that he was righteous?
As it is written in 2 Samuel 22:21-25: “HaShem has rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the purity of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of HaShem, and I have not departed ungodly from my God. For all his ordinances were before me, and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also whole to Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore, HaShem has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my purity before his eyes.”
If it were impossible to fulfill the Torah,
How is it possible that Yohan ben Zachariah’s parents could do it?
“Both were righteous before Adonai and conducted themselves blamelessly in all the commandments and precepts of the Adonai.”
Another will say, “The Torah is only for the Jewish people, not for the Gentiles.”
It is true that the entire Torah is not for the Gentiles. But an important part of it is also for them (1 Tim 3:16).
If the Torah were only for the Jews, then there would be no sinners among the Gentiles.
Since sin is the violation of the Torah, if there is no Torah there is no sin, 1 John 3:4; 1 Corinthians 15:56; 1 Timothy 1:8-11.
If the Torah is not for the Gentiles, there is also no sin among the Gentiles and if there is no sin among the Gentiles, the Gentiles do not need to be saved and the Messiah died in vain for them!
Vayikrah / Lev. 26:4 “I will give you your rains in his time, and the earth will give its products, and the trees of the field will bear fruit.”
The first result of obedience is that there will be rains from heaven in your time.
The rain in the land of Israel is very important.
If there is no rain there is no food, and if there is no food there is hunger and death. So, the blessing of rain is central to life in the land of Israel. Here he talks about the rain in his time. The main rains in Israel fall in the fall and in the spring.
In the tishrí and Cheshvan months comes the early rain and around the month of Nisan comes the latter rain. Early rain is the strongest and prepares the land for planting. Late rain is less heavy but more important because it helps the harvest to ripen correctly.
These two rains are the main ones in the land of HaShem, as written in Devarim/Deut. 11:14: “He will give your land rain in its time, the early rain and latter rain, that you may gather your grain, your wort, and your oil.”
In Joel 2:23 it is written: “Sons of Tzion, rejoice and rejoice in HaShem your Elohim; for He has given you the just early rain, and has brought down for you the rain, the early rain, and the late rain as in the beginning.”
In James 5:7 it is written: “Therefore, brethren, be patient until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient in it until he receives the early and late rain.”
What produces economic prosperity?
Economic prosperity does not occur in the first place by striving in their work, although it is one of the most important ways to obtain sustenance and material goods.
Economic prosperity does not come in the first place by having faith in the promises and proclaiming them with your mouth, although it may be an aid to activate the blessings of the Eternal.
Economic prosperity does not come in the first place by giving money to charitable causes, although it can generate blessings.
Economic prosperity is produced by walking in the statutes of the Eternal and keeping His commandments and putting them into action.
If you want to be prosperous in your economy, be obedient.
Shabbat Shalom Mishpoja!