Parshas Bechukosai 5757

In this week's Parsha we find the famous piece from Rebbi Chayim ben Attar, the Ohr HaChayim HaKodesh who brings 42 elucidations on the first verse, If you will walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them...". (Lev. 26:3)

The first one is particularly amazing. He brings a drasha from the Midrash Toras Cohanim. What does it mean, the Midrash asks, to walk in my statutes? If it means to keep the commandments, that is mention immediately afterwards. Therefore, the Midrash concludes, walking in my statutes means to exert oneself in Torah study.

The Ohr HaChayim then asks, what the connection is between the idea of statute, (immutable laws that we follow even without understanding the reason for them) and the exertion of oneself in Torah?

He answers that there is a mitzvah to learn Torah even if one has learned something 2 or 3 times before. Moreover Hashem loves the Torah learning of Israel so much, that he decreed, (made it a statute) that in order that a Jew should continue learning his whole life with enthusiasm, he should learn and then forget!! (Koheles Raba 3,10)

This should be a great consolation to anybody who suffers from forgetfulness. Keep on learning!!

"If you will walk in my ways and be careful to keep my commandments, , then I will give you your rain in its season and the earth will bring forth it's produce, and the trees of the field will bear their fruit." (Lev. 26:3-4)

This verse contains a hint to the future revival of the dead. This is the meaning of "the earth will bring forth it's produce". In this time all the bodies interred in the land will emerge whole and intact. The "trees of the field will bear their fruit", refers to the souls who, having completed their healing throughout many incarnations, will come again to inhabit and enliven the bodies in perfect harmony.

(R' Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Apt, Sefer Ohev Yisrael)

Return to the Nishmas Chayim Parsha and Holiday Archive