Bechukotai

Bechukotai: Casual Relationships

Twice a year, before Shavuot and Rosh Hashana, we read the tochecha, the list of dire consequences that will, G-d forbid, befall the Jewish people if they do not follow the chukim and mitzvot of the Torah. Panic, economic ruin, cannibalism, death, destruction and exile are spelled out in vivid detail. While we are told that we must, in general, follow the chukim and mitzvot, surprisingly, the Torah tells us very little about exactly which horrible sins will cause such bloodcurdling consequences.

Bechukotai: A Proper Ending

A mark of a good book is a clear and coherent structure. The opening chapters set the tone, themes are appropriately developed, and the conclusion ties together the key elements of the story. Thus, when studying the Torah, we must look for instruction not only from its content but also its form. What is the relationship between law and narrative? Why are certain laws introduced when they are? Why is the chronological sequence not always followed? What is the significance of the many seeming repetitions?
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