Behar-Bechukotai, May 18, 2017

Torah portions Behar and Bechukotai (Lev. 25- 29), whose contents have little in common, may offer some meaning in being linked together.  Behar has some very lofty visions of a great society.  It is amazing to think that our ancestors, living 2500 years ago or more, came up with the idea of the Sabbatical Year, a rest for the land, and the Jubilee Year, an effort to equalize wealth and property ownership in the ancient Israelite community.  Bechukotai, on the other hand, is a stark warning that those who do not follow God’s ways will be severely punished and those who do follow them, richly rewarded.  One parasha inspires us to live by Jewish values with visions of an ideal society; the other entices us to be good Jews with the “carrot and stick” approach.  Is it possible that we sometimes need both?  In my remarks to our Confirmands this week, I will raise this question.  Our Confirmation students love tough questions and the chance to grapple with the answers.  Please come and listen to what they have to say at our Confirmation Shabbat services, Friday at 7:30pm.