Bechukotai

“Parsha and Purpose” – Behar-Bechukotai 5780

“Parsha and Purpose” – Behar-Bechukotai 5780
Rabbi Kenneth Brander’s weekly insights into the parsha 

“Planting Seeds: Changing Ourselves and the World”

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. 

Planting Seeds: Changing Ourselves and the World

This week, we’re introduced to this unbelievable, fascinating halacha about the sabbatical year.  And there is a fascinating law that shares with us a difference in mindsets, a difference between Shabbat and the sabbatical year. 

On Shabbat, if I take a seed and I plant it, and an hour later I remove the seed from the ground, I’ve still violated the prohibition of doing a creative action on Shabbat, even though the seed has not yet taken root.

With a sabbatical year, if I plant a seed, something that is prohibited during the sabbatical year, and a day later, before it takes root I remove the seed, I have not violated the sabbatical year.

Why is there this difference between Shabbat and the sabbatical year?

Let me suggest an answer that was written in the mid-1800s by Rav Avraham Borenstein of Sochaczew, the Sochatchover Rebbe, in his Eglei Tal. He explains that on Shabbat, what counts is my melechet machshevet – my creative thought process. 

The fact that I have a picture in my mind that I want to plant a seed is sufficient to have violated the prohibition of not doing creative labor. 

On the sabbatical year, what counts is my influence over the world, and therefore it’s not enough to plant the seed. The seed needs to take root.

What a wonderful message for us! The idea that we have to live in both paradigms. 

The Shabbat paradigm, the melechet machshevet.  We have to be creative – and often our creative thoughts are really critical and really important in developing ourselves.  When we have a commitment to our own self-development, that commitment to that self-development that takes root in our mind is sufficient to be transformational.

But when we engage in the outside world, it’s not enough to have a mindset. It’s not enough for a seed to be planted in our mind, or for a seed to be planted. The action has to take root.  It’s not enough to think about helping my neighbor. I actually have to do something. 

We live on these two levels. We live in these two dimensions. The responsibility of celebrating the message of Shabbat every single day. Of having creative actions, creative mindsets, of making sure we improve ourselves, that new ideas take root in our mind. 

And our responsibility to engage in the world, the sabbatical paradigm.  To make sure that our actions really celebrate our commitment to changing the world, and the responsibility to do that. 

Shabbat Shalom, and may we always celebrate the Shabbat and the sabbatical paradigms in our life.

“Shabbat Shalom” – Behar-Bechukotai 5780

Shabbat Shalom: Behar-Bechukotai (Leviticus 25:1-27:34) By Rabbi Shlomo Riskin  Efrat, Israel –  “And you shall count for yourselves seven cycles of Sabbatical years, seven years, seven times… forty-nine years… you shall sanctify the fiftieth year and proclaim freedom throughout the land for all its inhabitants; it shall be the Jubilee year for you.” (Leviticus 25:8-10) This …

Read more“Shabbat Shalom” – Behar-Bechukotai 5780

Parshat Bechukotai: The Covenant Between Israel and God

Parshat Bechukotai: The Covenant Between Israel and God By Rabbi Shlomo Brown, Executive Director of Midreshet Lindenbaum  Which covenant is this week’s Torah portion alluding to? Why does the land of Israel pledge allegiance to the Jewish people, even when they don’t observe God’s commandments or adhere to this covenant? This week’s portion centers on …

Read moreParshat Bechukotai: The Covenant Between Israel and God

“Shabbat Shalom” – Parshat Bechukotai 5779

Shabbat Shalom: Bechukotai (Leviticus 26:3-27:34) By Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel – “And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid. And I will cause evil beasts to cease from the land; neither shall the sword go through your land.” (Leviticus 26:6) What kind of world …

Read more“Shabbat Shalom” – Parshat Bechukotai 5779

“Shabbat Shalom” – Behar-Bechukotai 5777

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin

Parshat Behar-Bechukotai (Leviticus 25:1-27:34) Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel — “I am the Lord your God who brought you forth from the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan to be your God.” Citing the verse above from this week’s Torah reading, our Sages make the striking declaration that only one who lives …

Read more“Shabbat Shalom” – Behar-Bechukotai 5777

“Parsha to the Point” – Behar-Bechukotai 5777

Parshat Behar-Bechukotai (Leviticus 25:1 – 27:34) Rabbi David Stav  This Shabbat, we’ll read Parshat Behar-Behukotai in our synagogues. Most of the social and economic issues in Biblical discourse and the Jewish world are addressed in this reading. The first part of the Torah portion discusses the laws of the Shmitta (Sabbatical) year, which recurs every seven …

Read more“Parsha to the Point” – Behar-Bechukotai 5777

אור תורה: בחוקותי תשע”ו

כוחה של הקללה גדול מזו של הברכה? הרב נתנאל לדרברג הפער בין תיאורי הברכה הדלים יחסית לתיאורי הקללה העשירים דורש עיון שעשוי להסביר היטב את השוני המהותי בין הקללה לברכה. י”ז אייר תשע”ו, 25/05/2016, 19/05/2016 פרשת בחוקותי מתארת את הברית המכילה שני קטבים הפוכים, ברכה וקללה, הנכרתת בין ד’ “ובין בני ישראל בהר סיני ביד …

Read moreאור תורה: בחוקותי תשע”ו

“Parsha to the Point” – Bechukotai 5776

Parshat Bechukotai (Leviticus 26:3-27:34)  Rabbi David Stav  Parshat Bechukotai, the final portion of the book of Vayikra (Leviticus), centers on a section called the “Tochecha”, a term that describes an agreement between a people and its God. This agreement states that if the nation follows the path and adheres to the values set out in the Torah, …

Read more“Parsha to the Point” – Bechukotai 5776

"Parsha to the Point" – Bechukotai 5776

Parshat Bechukotai (Leviticus 26:3-27:34)  Rabbi David Stav  Parshat Bechukotai, the final portion of the book of Vayikra (Leviticus), centers on a section called the “Tochecha”, a term that describes an agreement between a people and its God. This agreement states that if the nation follows the path and adheres to the values set out in the Torah, …

Read more"Parsha to the Point" – Bechukotai 5776

Font Resize
Contrast