Parsha Talk Behukotai 5784 2024

Parashat B’chukotai is the tenth and last parashah of Sefer Va-yiqra [Book of Leviticus]. Its main section is the תוכחה [tokhekhah, “rebuke”; Baruch Levine labels it “The Execration” (26:14-45)]. Preceded by the blessings (26:3-13) that will come to Israel, both the people and the land provided the people observe the mitzvot [commandments], the far larger part is devoted to the details of the punishments which will ensue should the people not observe the commandments. It can be difficult in 2024, given the nature of the text itself as well as all that is going on in the world and the Jewish world today, to make sense of this passage, and it is to this task that we devote most of our conversation. We also discuss chapter 27, which Baruch Levine entitles “Funding the Sanctuary”.
It is customary when we finish a Book of the Torah to conclude the reading in the synagogue with the words חזק חזק ונתחזק, chazak chazak v-nitchazek, let us be strong, let us be strong, let us be strengthened. May it be so for the community of Israel, whether they be in the Land or outside of it.
We are ever mindful of the hostages and their families, and the men and women who defend Israel as soldiers in the Israel Defense Force. May the hostages be speedily returned to their homes; may the soldiers be removed from harm’s way. Shabbat Shalom.