Dvar Torah: Parshat Bechukotai
This week’s parsha, Parshat Bechukotai, focuses on Tochecha, the Torah’s warning of the dire consequences that Bnei Yisrael is destined to face if the nation turns against Hashem. The Tochecha says that if Am Yisrael were to lose its spirituality, it would also suffer physically, economically, and politically. The nation will experience defeat and disaster, forfeit its freedom and its land, and its people will go into exile and suffer persecution. These pesukim engender so much fear that on Shabbat they are read hurriedly and even in an undertone.
However, the parsha does not end there. In an abrupt change of tone, the pesukim switch from foreboding to comforting as Hashem consoles Bnei Yisrael: וְאַף־גַּם־זֹאת בִּהְיוֹתָם בְּאֶרֶץ אֹיְבֵיהֶם לֹא־מְאַסְתִּים וְלֹא־גְעַלְתִּים לְכַלֹּתָם לְהָפֵר בְּרִיתִי אִתָּם כִּי אֲנִי ה` אֱלֹקיהֶם׃
“Yet, even then, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or spurn them so as to destroy them, annulling My covenant with them: for I Hashem am their God.”
This consolation teaches us a lesson about hope. Hashem may punish Bnei Yisrael if they sin, but, even so, He will be sure to fulfill His promises to the nation. Bnei Yisrael may experience exile, but Hashem will always redeem us. We can see this in the history of the Jewish people: though we have faced many challenges, we have always been able to look towards a light at the end of the tunnel and persevere. We, Am Yisrael, always maintain faith that the future will be better because Hashem promised us that He will never abandon us. Even if there is reason to believe that the challenges we face can be explained through our own mistakes, Hashem always leaves the door open for return and redemption. Our covenant with Hashem will never be totally broken or unrepairable, and the opportunity for Teshuva always exists. Bechukotai, a parsha usually recognized by its fearful warnings, teaches us that there is always hope for a brighter future.