Parashah Bechukotai which ends the book of Leviticus begins with:
אִם-בְּחֻקֹּתַי תֵּלֵכוּ וְאֶת-מִצְותַי תִּשְׁמְרוּ, וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם
“If you walk with my statutes and keep My commandments,
and do them;” …
Our sages developed the word, Halachah, – הֲלָכָה which means the right walk with the Creator from this word תֵּלֵכוּ telechu “If you walk”. He gave us principles to live by and in this portion, He warns us about the consequences if we do not follow them and the blessing when we do. Many people regard the Creator as a vengeful God who is constantly waiting for us to fail so that He can punish us. That is not at all what the Torah is showing us. Here our sages called it Tochechah – תוֹכֵחָה – (admonishment or warning); He simply wants us to be aware of what can happen when we refuse to obey Him. He gave us bechirah chofshit – free will. With this freedom of choice comes responsibility. As we “walk” with Him daily, we use His gift of emunah, faith to develop bitachon, trust by using His gift of bechirah chofshit to demonstrate our kavanah, intention of our hearts. That is the struggle of Halachah, our daily walk with Him. The very name Israel means to struggle. He gave us the parameters on how to live a full life, and His desire is that we choose life, not death.
The Ten Commandments is divided up into three parts: (1-3) the Mitzvot, the Commandments bringing us into a direct relationship with the Creator, (4-5) the Chukkim the ordinances which we are to obey without clear understanding, and (6-10,) the Mishpatim, the regulations regarding the relationship we are to have with each other, person to person. We are all made in His likeness and image, born with His divine spark within us. We are each special in His sight with a specific role to fulfill. It is wonderful when we find and live our role. We are all born with these Ten Commandments within our spiritual DNA. They give us the rules for basic “decency”. These values that are inherent within us, as we grow are slowly eroded by those who refuse to follow them. Being human means that we need to have respect toward one another.
One of my favorite’s expressions is “My rights end where yours begin”. People are accustomed to using or exploiting others to get what they want instead of doing what the Torah is teaching us. Human Rights today are a big issue but the principle behind them is that the rights of the individual supersede that of the community. Torah teaches the opposite in that the individual has been uniquely created to form and serve the community. Our role within the community is what gives us importance. In contrast, Western thought teaches that the community exists to serve the individual. This advanced way of thinking develops a sense of entitlement within the person…” the government or any authority figure owes me something. I have rights!” Our children have lost the idea of responsibility to the whole.
Basic idolatry means that we substitute the true God for a god of our own making. Most religions have done this, making God into their likeness and image instead of us being made in His. The God of Abraham is known as the unseen God, but humans want something they can touch. This gives way to mankind forming his own value systems in which the decency toward one another, set down by the Creator, gets annulled. Immorality and indecency become the norm. Today we are no longer considered a divine creation but an offshoot, or a mere coincidence of nature. This allows us to define ourselves outside the pattern that God laid down for us. Male and female, right and wrong, helping others, all no longer matter. To the modern world, God has become hocus pocus as they rebuild the Tower of Babel crying out as Nietzsche did… “God is dead”.
Those who desire to follow the principles of the Torah are becoming the laughing stock to those who cannot think for themselves. Our Creator is not a god of dogmas but is a God of Truth. He gave us the rules and regulations for this world. This parashah basically is teaching us to think for ourselves. He gave us the capability to discern the lies of corrupt systems that are being forced upon us. Almost everything in the media lately is not based on the truth, including the pseudo-science by the environmentalists who refuse to acknowledge that the earth goes through cycles. It is true that humans have been slowly destroying the planet that God created for us to supervise. The earth belongs to Him and if we mistreat it, we are mistreating ourselves. That is Torah.
Today people want saviors and because they have lost their moral compass, they are allowing dictators to take care of them. Even Judaism is hiding behind the idea of Mashiach who will come and save us, hoping for supernatural or miraculous salvation! Mashiach will come in his own time! What do we do while we are waiting? The Creator wants us to “act” as we walk in a decent manner with one another. Who will tell the truth about the murder of innocent babies by abortion at any stage? Who will tell the truth about the fact that the DNA of a male or female cannot change even if they believe that they were born in the wrong body? You and I need to speak up about God’s ways before it is too late, and humanity is lost. That is why the Creator said, “IF” you follow… that is the key to this portion. Things will go from bad to worse IF we do not have the courage to speak the Truth. There is no room for the lies of this world within the lives of our children. If God is with us, who can be against us!
Chazak! Chazak! V’nitchazek!
חזק חזק ונתחזק
Be Strong! Be Strong! Be Strengthened!