Double Torah Portion
This week's DOUBLE Torah Portion:
This is Parashat B’har. B’har means “on (the) Mount (of Sinai).” The opening dialogue between HaShem and Moshe takes place on Mount Sinai. The subject of this very short parashah is the Sh’mittah and the Yovel. Sh’mittah is defined as the “release,” or the “Sabbatical Year.” In the Sh’mittah the land lay fallow every 7th year, and after the 49th year, (7x7) it lay fallow a 2nd year for the 50th year as well. This 50th year is known as the Yovel (Jubilee).
We have finally come to the last portion of Vayikra, known as Parashat B’chukkotai (say “b-choo-koh-tie;” the “ch” is as the “ch” in Bach). The root word from which our Torah portion’s title is taken is “choke” חֹק, and it means “statute, ordinance, limit, something prescribed.” This should not be confused with its counterpart “Torah” which is also sometimes translated along these same lines. I understand the word choke to convey something a bit more “wooden” (edict) when compared to Torah (teaching). Because this commentary’s teachings are so pertinent to world Jewry, both past and present, I shall be making many more rabbinic quotes than I normally do. I will ask my non-Jewish audience to bear with me as I reach out to my fellow “Y’hudim” (Jews) through the instructions of the Chazal (Sages of Blessed Memory).This week’s Torah teaching introduces one of the central aspects of the covenant made through Moshe Rabbenu (Moses our teacher): obedience. The Torah clearly teaches here in this parashah that blessing is predicated upon obedience to its chukkim (edicts). What sort of blessing? Physical, social, and financial, to name a few.But not spiritual.