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A fish outside the water - Bechukotai

Wednesday, 29 May, 2019 - 8:11 am

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What kind of reward would we expect a religion to promise? You would probably answer the paradise, some transcendent experience or other spiritual things.

This week’s Parasha, Bechukotai, gives us a different answer. “If you keep My Commandments and study My Torah” says G-d, “I will reward you. You will have rain, good harvests, abundance, peace, health…” and more material blessings that the Torah describes in great detail.

Why does the Torah give so much emphasis to the material reward?

This is because the Torah is part of our lives in this material world.

When the Romans ruled in Israel, they forbade the study of the Torah. Yet Rabbi Akiva continued to study and teach Torah. When asked why he continued despite the danger, he explained: “Just as the fish cannot leave the water, Jews cannot disconnect from the Torah”. Torah is part of our existence.

This is the reason that the reward is not only spiritual bur also material. Since Torah is about our lives, the reward needs to be expressed in the material and physical parts of our lives. Like a real joy which does not stay only in our hearts but reaches our feet, which start to dance.  

Let’s think about how we can express Torah in our physicals lives this week. For instance, refrain from eating dairy with meat, say the Shema Israel before going to sleep, obey quickly to our parents etc.

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

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