December 8, 2022 |

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - B'Hukkotai

Parshah B’Hukkotai is known for its rendering of blessings followed by the “Tokhehah” (the “Reproach” or, more plainly, curses, for failing to follow the Law). As always, taking some time with a verse that might be quickly glossed over yields interesting results. The opening verse (Lev. 26:3) tells us, “If you follow My laws and faithfully observe my commandments.” It’s the opening clause that leads to the sections of blessings. The Hebrew word translated as “follow” actually means “walk” or “go.” So we are being asking to literally follow along the path of Torah. There’s also an indication that we must follow the Torah text itself, and we do so through continued study. A novel interpretation even reads this as “the Laws that I Myself follow,” making this an invitation to follow the Godly path. This transform halachah from something God imposes on the Israelites as the price of redemption, to an endorsement of God’s way as something to be emulated. It’s almost as if God is telling the people, “Listen, this works for Me. Try it, you’ll like it.”

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Daniel M. Kimmel

Joined: October 2, 2007

Daniel M. Kimmel is a Boston area film critic, lecturer and author. He does these weekly mini-lessons for the Mishkan Tefila Brotherhood's newsletter. You are free to use them for similar purposes.

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Geoffrey Gilbert works as a development consultant in Los Angeles. Most of his work involves working with local governments to find ways to end the problem of homelessness. He was trained as a sociologist (Ph.D. UC, Berkeley) and many of his interpretations rely heavily upon his academic studies. ...

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