B'hukotai: A Summary of the Parashah

God enumerates the rewards for keeping the commandments and the punishments for violating them; the laws of tithes are then listed.

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There are ways of uttering a resolve to God, ways of showing a value for each soul. The people may do it with shekels or land or animals and then consecrate it with priests in a holy manner. All tithes from the land, whether seed from the ground or fruit from the tree, are the Lord’s. They are holy to the Lord. If a man wishes to redeem any of his tithes, he must add one-fifth to them. All tithes of the herd or the flock--all that passes under the shepherd’s staff, every tenth one shall be holy to the Lord. One shall not inquire whether it be good or bad, neither shall one change it. If one does change it, then it shall be holy. It shall not be redeemed.

These are the commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses, for the children of Israel in Mount Sinai.

Questions for Discussion

1) In return for following God’s laws, God promises to provide rain for hearty crops and enemies that fall easily. What does it mean then today when it doesn’t rain or when enemies do not fall? Does it mean that God isn’t keeping God’s promise or that the Jewish people aren’t keeping their promise to God?

2) God tells the children of Israel in this passage that if an Israelite does not hearken to God and to God’s laws and commandments, that God will bring, among other things, illness that fills the spirit with grief. How do you feel when you have knowingly (or unknowingly) broken a commandment? Do you believe these feelings stem from God or from you?

3) What does it mean to walk with God only by chance or to walk in a contrary way with God? How do you walk with God?

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Nancy Reuben Greenfield

Nancy Reuben Greenfield has written three adaptations of the Torah, including an
interactive family version at www.TiptoeThroughTheTorah.com, and an engaging
Jewish immigrant novel, The Golden Medina, available on itunes and Amazon.