Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Bechukosai - 5779
VALUES: ONLY FROM SINAI
In Pareshat Bechukotai, the Torah warns the Jewish People that if they fail to live up to their responsibilities, they will face harsh consequences. As the text spells out the horrendous punishments that will befall the nation, it adds (in verse 30) that Hashem "will decimate your sun idols."
Commentators explain that the Torah wants us to recognize and remember that our survival is dependent on a commitment to our heritage and not by turning to universal values. At times, the people of Israel believe that if we as a nation focus on morality that is accepted by the international community, we in turn will be welcomed by them.
In the ancient world, influenced by the culture of Egypt, the sun god Ra was considered to be the king of the gods. Consequently, the Jewish people publicly erected sun idols to show commitment to the universal values of the time. By the Torah noting that they will be decimated, we, as a nation, are being taught that the morality of the world, a morality that is in constant change, can never be a substitute for the values we were given at Sinai.