Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Behar-Bechukosai - 5778
THE REFLECTIVE LAND
Pareshat Bechukotai begins with blessings awaiting the Children of Israel if they follow the laws of the Torah. Rains in their season, abundant harvests, peace, victory over enemies – these will all be part of existence, if Hashem’s word is followed. If the commandments are ignored, we are warned, then He will inflict upon Israel misery, decay, fever, stolen harvests, defeat by enemies, attacks of wild beasts, pestilence, famine, desolation, and timidity.
The Talmud, in tractate Sanhedrin, mentions future events that, according to tradition, indicate the imminent arrival of the Messiah. One of the rabbis quoted, Rabbi Abba, states that the greatest sign of all is when the produce of the land of Israel will be of high quality. Rabbi Abba cites as his source the words of the Prophet Ezekiel, “But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and bear your fruit for My people Israel...”, elucidating that the Land of Israel will yield fruit in abundance shortly before the redemption.
Eretz Yisrael’s physicality reflects spirituality. When the dwellers of the land behave, the ground behaves as well. Yet the generation of the Messianic era will merit to see a preview of the good things to come, by the land producing wonderful bounty, before the nation being worthy of it.
The purpose of the aforementioned benefaction is for the people of Israel to awaken and recognize the spiritual potential of their homeland when Torah and Mitzvot are practised in it. The natural blessings are a sign of the marvelous connection the Jewish people have to the land of Israel.