Congregation Etz Hayim at Hollis Hills Bayside

The consolidated communities of Hollis Hills Bayside Jewish Center and Marathon Jewish Community Center

Shabbat Behar/Behukotai 5781

One way to look at the long section of warnings that we read this week is that there are far more “curses” than blessings. Simple math would bear out this reading; there are 11 verses connected to “If you follow My laws,” and 30 that follow “but if you do not obey Me.” But lest you think that God’s expected fury is nearly triple God’s promised grace, the rabbis swoop in with a more optimistic reading. The blessings are automatic if we do the right thing. But the curses, they suggest, don’t come when we do the wrong thing. We have to go so far as to “despise and abhor” the commandments. Our attitude needs to accompany our behavior in order to trigger Divine fury. That’s a high bar of evil that we are unlikely to reach, thankfully. So in the scope of things, the blessings, though they take up fewer words, actually outnumber the threats. It’s all a matter of perspective!

 
As you read Behar-Behukotai, see if you can figure out why I chose these songs:
 
The Pride of Iceland
 
Bruce Springsteen’s song from the Tom Hanks film
 
John Mellancamp (from which album?)
 
Bob Marley and the Wailers
 
Did you know The Kinks were still making new music in 1993?
 
Alicia Keys is priceless
 
Join us for havdalah Saturday evening at 8:45 PM for the answers!
 
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom, and as always, good health,  
 
Rabbi David Wise
 
Candle lighting: 7:40 PM
Torah Reading: Leviticus 25:1-27:34
Triennial: Leviticus 25:39-26:46
Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14