Parashat Behar-Bechukotai

(On the Mountain-In My Laws)

Leviticus 25:1 - 27:34

Jeremiah 16:19 - 17:14

In the Torah portion Behar, God describes the laws surrounding resting the land and crops every seven years, as well as the Jubilee year every 50 years. God permits the use of slaves but provides stipulations including the obligation to eventually free your slaves. In Bechukotai, God tells the people of Israel that if they follow God’s commandments, they will be provided with rain to feed their crops. God then describes the long list of punishments that will be inflicted on the Israelites if they do not follow God’s laws.

Finding Meaning in an Ancient Farming Law

Why Shmita, the commandment to let Israel's farmland rest every seven years, is relevant even for today's urban Diaspora Jews.

More on this Torah Portion

Anxiety: A Jewish Telegram

The first curse described in this portion hinders our ability to listen — even to ourselves.

Who Does the Land Belong To?

Behar affirms that the land belongs to God, and the land must be permitted to observe its Sabbaths, too.

The Impossible World

How to restore the world to a single divine reality.

Do Jews Own the Land of Israel?

We dwell on the land at God's pleasure, always on condition.

Shmita and Climate Change

If we ignore God's will that we care for the earth now, we risk losing everything in the future.

The Blessing of Rain

We must pray for beneficial rain, and then follow through with environmental action.

We Are All God’s Creatures

One of the Torah's central insights is its effort to minimize human ownership.

The Mitzvah of Shmita

The concept of the sabbatical year reveals the awesome splendor of God's earth.

Divine Lottery

The American narrative and the biblical narrative offer conflicting approaches to wealth and material gain.

Reaching Out To Those In Need

Numerous translators of the Bible understand differently the command to strengthen those that are falling low, but all agree on its importance.

No Food, No Torah; No Torah, No Food

The curses in Bechukotai were actualized during the Holocaust.

Our Love For The Land Of Israel

The commandment to bring the redemption of the Land of Israel reminds us of the inextricable link between Judaism and Israel.

Rebuke and Reward in this World

The fate of the individual is often determined by the behavior of the community as a whole.

Fairness In The Marketplace

The rabbinic understanding of commerce laws in Behar focuses on ensuring that consumers have access to market information.

Unifying Towards Redemption

We can achieve redemption only when striving for unity, holiness, and justice.

Science Vs. Sabbath?

The environmental destruction intended as a punishment for failing to observe the sabbatical year raises contemporary questions of how to prevent environmental devastation.

This Land Is God’s Land

The prohibition against worshiping idols includes falsely attributing to ourselves power over land.

Sowing Seeds Of Redemption

The Jubilee year encourages us to take time to appreciate our labors and the role God plays in our lives.

A New World

The reinterpretation of the term "forever" encourages us to strive for new realities within our own lifetimes.

Faith In Difficult Times

Jeremiah's deep faith despite the impending exile predicted in Parashat B'hukotai can teach us to turn to God in the most troubling of times.

Preserving The Covenant

Incentives to keep the covenant are directed at Israel because of Israel's power, through its behavior, to break the covenant.

Jealousy

Jealousy can paralyze us and force us to define ourselves by another person's successes.

Not Misrepresenting

Your relationships with others can only be real if they rest on honest assumptions.

Sharing is Letting Go of Control

Letting go is hard work, but loosening our grip will ultimately make us feel freer.

Sharing the Wealth

Bechukotai: A resource for families.

Words Can Hurt

Behar: A resource for families.

Parashat Behar Quiz

Learn more about the weekly Torah portion.

Corrupt Leadership

The global community has an opportunity to oppose Robert Mugabe's tyranny in Zimbabwe.

Elevation or Obstacle?

The mountain in this week's Torah portion can be a place of spiritual growth or an impediment.

B’hukotai

Leviticus 26:3-27:34

B’har

Leviticus 25:1-26:2

Stubbornness And Chance

Two interpretations of a word illustrate different understandings of punishments listed in Parashat Bechukotai.

Responding Swiftly To Need

Charity is rooted in our understanding that those who need our help are indeed our brothers.