In this Shabbat’s weekly Torah portion BEHUKOTAI Leviticus 26:3-27:34, is the final one in the Book of Leviticus. It is often read in conjunction with the previous portion, Behar.
Our portion contains a brief passage outlining the blessings God offers the Children of Israel on condition that they keep his statutes, then continues with a lengthy and detailed accounting of the curses He will visit upon them if they do not follow His commandments. The Torah then explains how to set the values of different gifts one might dedicate to the Temple, and likewise the values of mandatory Temple contributions. It also includes an exceptional circumstance, where redemption is not an option.
Topic 1: Blessings
God begins his blessings with the caveat, “If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them” (Leviticus 26:3). He then promises to show great favor to the Children of Israel if they do, vowing rain in its season, bountiful produce, peace and prosperity, safety and fertility. The Israelites shall fear neither… Read More »
Topic 2: Curses
If blessings are promised for keeping God’s commands, curses are threatened for abandoning them. The curses are laid out in a series, each progressively harsher. Repeatedly, God says if the Children of Israel do not mend their ways after one set of curses, a harsher punishment will follow. The curses include: illness and plague,… Read More »
Topic 3: Gifts to the Temple and their Redemption Values
The Torah goes on to discuss different gifts a person might dedicate to the Tabernacle or Temple, and what it would cost to redeem them in the event that is necessary. It begins by discussing how much he must contribute if he vows to offer the value of a human life (his own or someone… Read More »
Topic 4: Mandatory Contributions and their Redemption Values
The Book of Leviticus concludes with the redemption of firstborn animals and tithes. Unlike the previous section, that dealt with voluntary contributions, the redemptions here apply to obligatory contributions. The firstborn of any animal is automatically dedicated to God, but if it is unclean, such as a donkey, it must be redeemed for its… Read More »
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