Vayikra (Leviticus): Bechukotai > Ch 26

  • You shall not make idols for yourselves, nor shall you set up a statue or a monument for yourselves. And in your land you shall not place a pavement stone on which to prostrate yourselves, for I am the Lord, your G-d.
  • You shall keep My Sabbaths and fear My Sanctuary. I am the Lord.


REWARD FOR FOLLOWING G-D’s COMMANDMENTS

  • If you follow My statutes and observe My commandments and perform them:
  • I will give your rains in their time, the Land will yield its produce, and the tree of the field will give forth its fruit.
  • Your threshing will last until the vintage, and the vintage will last until the sowing; you will eat your food to satiety, and you will live in security in your land.
  • I will grant peace in the Land, and you will lie down with no one to frighten [you]; I will remove wild beasts from the Land, and no army will pass through your land;
  • You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you;
  • Five of you will pursue a hundred, and a hundred of you will pursue ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.
  • I will turn towards you, and I will make you fruitful and increase you, and I will set up My covenant with you.
  • You will eat very old [produce], and you will clear out the old from before the new.
  • And I will place My dwelling in your midst, and My Spirit will not reject you;
  • I will walk among you and be your G-d, and you will be My people. I am the Lord, your G-d, Who took you out of the land of Egypt from being slaves to them; and I broke the pegs of your yoke and led you upright.


PUNISHMENT FOR NOT FOLLOWING G-D’s COMMANDMENTS

  • If you do not listen to Me and do not perform all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes and reject My ordinances, not performing any of My commandments, thereby breaking My covenant then I too, will do the same to you:
  • I will order upon you shock, consumption, fever, and diseases that cause hopeless longing and depression. You will sow your seed in vain, and your enemies will eat it.
  • I will set My attention against you, and you will be smitten before your enemies. Your enemies will rule over you; you will flee, but no one will be pursuing you.
  • And if, during these, you will not listen to Me, I will add another seven punishments for your sins:
  • I will break the pride of your strength and make your skies like iron and your land like copper.
  • Your strength will be expended in vain; your land will not yield its produce, neither will the tree of the earth give forth its fruit.
  • And if you treat Me as happenstance, and you do not wish to listen to Me, I will add seven punishments corresponding to your sins:
  • I will incite the wild beasts of the field against you, and they will bereave you, utterly destroy your livestock and diminish you, and your roads will become desolate.
  • And if, through these, you will still not be chastised [to return] to Me, and if you [continue to] treat Me happenstance, Then I too, will treat you as happenstance. I will again add seven punishments for your sins:
  • I will bring upon you an army that avenges the avenging of a covenant, and you will gather into your cities. I will incite the plague in your midst, and you will be delivered into the enemy's hands,
  • When I break for you the staff of bread, and ten women will bake your bread in one oven, and they will bring back your bread by weight, and you will eat, yet not be satisfied.
  • And if, despite this, you still do not listen to Me, still treating Me as happenstance, I will treat you with a fury of happenstance, adding again seven [chastisements] for your sins:
  • You will eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters you will eat.
  • I will demolish your edifices and cut down your sun idols; I will make your corpses [fall] upon the corpses of your idols, and My Spirit will reject you.
  • I will lay your cities waste and make your holy places desolate, and I will not partake of your pleasant fragrances.
  • I will make the Land desolate, so that it will become desolate [also] of your enemies who live in it.
  • And I will scatter you among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword after you. Your land will be desolate, and your cities will be laid waste.
  • Then, the land will be appeased regarding its sabbaticals. During all the days that it remains desolate while you are in the land of your enemies, the Land will rest and thus appease its sabbaticals. It will rest during all the days that it remains desolate, whatever it had not rested on your sabbaticals, when you lived upon it.
  • And those of you who survive I will bring fear in their hearts in the lands of their enemies, and the sound of a rustling leaf will pursue them; they will flee as one flees the sword, and they will fall, but there will be no pursuer.
  • Each man will stumble over his brother, [fleeing] as if from the sword, but without a pursuer. You will not be able to stand up against your enemies.
  • You will become lost among the nations, and the land of your enemies will consume you.
  • And because of their iniquity, those of you who survive will rot away in the lands of your enemies; moreover, they will rot away because the iniquities of their fathers are still within them.
  • They will then confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers their betrayal that they dealt Me, and that they also treated Me as happenstance. Then I too, will treat them as happenstance and bring them [back while] in the land of their enemies. If then, their clogged heart becomes humbled, then, [their sufferings] will gain appeasement for their iniquity, and I will remember My covenant [with] Jacob, and also My covenant [with] Isaac, and also My covenant [with] Abraham I will remember. And I will remember the Land, [For] the Land will be bereft of them, appeasing its sabbaticals when it had been desolate of them, and they will gain appeasement for their iniquity. This was all in retribution for their having despised My ordinances and in retribution for their having rejected My statutes.
  • But despite all this, while they are in the land of their enemies, I will not despise them nor will I reject them to annihilate them, thereby breaking My covenant that is with them, for I am the Lord their G-d. I will remember for them the covenant [made with] the ancestors, whom I took out from the land of Egypt before the eyes of the nations, to be a G-d to them. I am the Lord.


These are the statutes, the ordinances, and the laws that the Lord gave between Himself and the children of Israel on Mount Sinai, by the hand of Moses.


 
Rashi Commentary

  • whatever it had not rested on your sabbaticals The seventy years of the Babylonian exile [i.e., between the destruction of the first Temple and the building of the second,] corresponded to the seventy years of Shemittah and Jubilee years that took place during the years that Israel angered the Omnipresent while in their Land, [a total of] 430 years. Three hundred and ninety years were the years of their sinning from when they entered the land until the Ten Tribes were exiled, and the people of Judah angered Him for forty more years from the time the Ten Tribes were exiled until the destruction of Jerusalem. This is what is referred to in Ezek. (4:4-5) [when G-d makes Ezekiel figuratively suffer one day for each year Israel sinned, in order to atone for their sins], “And you shall lie on your left side (symbolizing the house of Israel, i.e., the ten tribes)… [Now I have made for you the years of their iniquity by the number of days, three hundred and ninety days, and you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel]. And when you complete these, you shall lie on your right side a second time, and you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah: forty days [a day for a year, a day for a year, I have given it to you].” Now, this prophecy was stated to Ezekiel in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s exile. And [since the people of Judah] spent another six years [in the Land] until Zedekiah’s exile, totaling forty-six [sinful years of the house of Judah, and hence, of the 850 years the people of Israel spent from the time of their entry into the Land until their eventual exile from it after the destruction of the first Holy Temple, they sinned for a total of 436 years]. Now, you might object, saying that King Manasseh [who was born immediately after the ten tribes were exiled, and who] ruled for fifty-five years [and so, even without taking into account the sinful years during the reigns of all the other kings of Judah, fifty-five years alone is more than forty-six, so surely the calculation is incorrect]! [However,] Manasseh repented [his evil ways] for thirty-three [of the fifty-five] years [of his reign], and thus, his sinful years [amounted to] twenty-two years, as it is written, “and he made an asherah as Ahab, the king of Israel, had made” (II Kings 21:3), and Ahab ruled for twenty-two [sinful] years, [so did Manasseh sin for twenty-two of his fifty-five year reign,] as is taught in the Aggadah of [the eleventh chapter of Tractate Sanh. (103a), entitled] Cheilek. [Thus, the number of years that the house of Judah sinned was: 22 years during the reign of Manasseh,] two during [the reign of] Amon, eleven during [the reign of] Jehoiakim and the same [i.e., another eleven] during [the reign of] Zedekiah [making a total of 46 years. The other kings of Judah are not included in the calculation, because during the righteous Josiah’s reign, Israel did not sin, while Jehoachaz and Jehoiachin each ruled for only three months. Let us now] go and calculate, for the [period of] 436 years [of sin], how many Shemittah and Jubilee years transpired during the years, at a rate of sixteen in every hundred years: 14 Shemittah years and two Jubilee years [totaling 16 sabbatical years]. Therefore, for 400 years, we have 64, and for the remaining 36 years, there are five [cycles of seven years and thus five] Shemittah years, making a total of [64 and 5 =] seventy minus one [i.e., 69 unobserved sabbatical years in that total of 436 sinful years in that period]. And [we must add to this calculation] an extra year-this extra year was the [last sinful] year [of the 436,] which began another Shemittah cycle [and G-d exiled Israel then and did not wait for the completion of that cycle for them to desecrate the seventieth Shemittah year-out of mercy for them, so that they would not have to endure the punishment of utter destruction, G-d forbid.] - [see Deut. 4:25 and Rashi there; Sifthei Chachamim] [This extra year, nevertheless, is included in the calculation here, as though another sabbatical had gone by unobserved, thereby] completing the seventy [unobserved sabbatical years of that period]. And for these [unobserved sabbaticals], a full seventy years [of exile] were decreed. And thus is it stated in (II) Chron. (36: 21), “until the Land was appeased regarding its Sabbaths; [for all the days of its desolation it rested,] until the completion of seventy years.” - [See Sefer Hazikkaron for the explanation of this Rashi.]


Research & Analysis







Thoughts & Conclusions
  • It is astounding to read this chapter, since the powerful events described here have taken place in recent history.
  • I will lay your cities waste and make your holy places desolate. I will scatter you among the nations. G-d has removed Jews from the land of Israel, the Temple was destroyed and the Jews were scattered among the nations
  • During all the days that it remains desolate while you are in the land of your enemies, the Land will rest and thus appease its sabbaticals. When Jews were scattered among the nations there was no other country in the land of Israel and it was sparsely populated.
  • And those of you who survive I will bring fear in their hearts While living among other nations, the Jews were constantly in fear of persecution
  • But despite all this, while they are in the land of their enemies, I will not despise them nor will I reject them to annihilate them No other people have ever lost their land and managed to survive as a nation. Yet G-d has made sure that Jews remained a nation even after 2000 years in exile.
  • Then I too, will treat them as happenstance and bring them [back while] in the land of their enemies. ... Five of you will pursue a hundred, and a hundred of you will pursue ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you G-d has brought the Jews back into the land of Israel. And a small Israeli army is able to protect the country from a much larger army of hostile Arab states. But the story is not over. So far, we haven't been allowed to rebuild the Temple, which means that G-d is still testing us to see if we truly want the Temple and are willing to follow His commandments.
  • See Devarim Ch28 for a similar prophecy made in the land of Moab.

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