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YIP Parsha Project Parshat Bechukotai

05/13/2014 11:36:09 PM


YIP Parsha Project

Parashat Bechukotai                                                                                     Chusid Family


Those of us who are blessed to be parents know how difficult it is to discipline our children when they misbehave. It goes against our grain to punish them. Our love for our children is so great that we want to overlook their faults, and are only moved to discipline them when we realize we must do it for their own good. Only then do we punish, and never to the degree that perfect justice demands.

So it is with our Father in heaven, who loves us more than we can possibly imagine.

How is it, then, that the One who loves us so can punish us with the horrific afflictions described in the Tochachah of this week’s parashat? Horrible diseases; destruction at the hands of our enemies, wild beasts and pestilence; even cannibalism? Is this how a loving Father treats His children, regardless of the nature of their transgression? It does not make sense.

And indeed it is not so. For the curses of the Tochachah are really blessings in disguise.

Our Father who loves us so, had to disguise these blessings as curses in order to get them past the heavenly court. For the heavenly court functions as a dispenser of strict justice, while our Father tempers justice with mercy and kindness. And although all of creation serves at the pleasure of our Master, nevertheless by His own will even He must abide by the decisions of the heavenly court. Hence the need for subterfuge.

In the fourth series of “curses”, the following is written (Vayikra, Ch. 26, v. 26): “When I break for you the staff of bread, ten women will bake your bread in one oven, and they will bring back your bread by weight; you will eat and not be sated.” How can this be a blessing?! Here’s how:

1.      “Bread” is Torah. The “staff of bread” is the Tree of Life in Gan Eden, the source of Torah. “When I break for you the staff of bread” is the shattering of the first tablets, which were written in terms of the spiritual world, so that the Torah could be given again, in terms of this material world. This was done for our benefit, so we could study Torah in terms we are capable of understanding.

2.      “… bake your bread” refers to the deep internalization of the words of Torah into our soul, which must be accomplished by “baking” the words of Torah in the “oven” of the fire of our soul’s intense love for God. “One oven” can be read as the “oven of One”, and “ten women” refers to the ten powers of our soul (the sefirot) in their feminine, i.e. receptive, aspect.

3.      “… bring back your bread by weight” (literally, “on the scales”): When one arm of a scale lowers, the other rises. When we integrate Torah into our lives in this material, “lower”, world, we cause a corresponding rise of Torah to its original form before the tablets were broken. Through this we are able to begin to understand the deeper, spiritual meanings of Torah.

4.      “… you will eat and not be sated.” Our desire for Torah will be so great that we won’t be able to learn enough to ever be satisfied!

A more detailed explanation of this concept can be found at the following url:

As with all Torah study, the Tochachah must be learned with the aim of gaining greater knowledge of God, trying to fathom the awesomeness of His power and knowledge, and coming to an awareness of His intense love for us, His chosen people, and responding in kind!

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Rabbi: Elie Weissman    ~    President: Brian Berns

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Sat, January 23 2021 10 Shevat 5781