Parshas Bechukosai
Leviticus 26:3 - 27:34
Their Soul Rejected My Laws!

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated by the family of Akiva G. Belk in the loving memory of Mrs. Ethel Channah Sakash Belk, may she rest in peace.

In the world of Yiddishkeit we have this backlash of Jews, of assimilated Jews, of unknowledgeable Jews, of Christians / Messianics who believe and who teach it is fine to redefine the Torah. They belong by choice or by actions to this wide group that in effect believe the concept, "Me and G-d got a good thing going."

Then in our world of Yiddishkeit we have rabbinic law which we are taught to follow even when it contradicts Torah law given by Hashem on Har Sinai. We are given examples of Ha Rav Moshe Rabbeinu, his minister Yehoshuah and leaders like Ha Rav Mordechai who instructed Kal Yisroel, and Kal Yisroel obeyed their instructions thus establishing a line of Torah transmission and obedience by Kal Yisroel. We began the study of this transmission in Pirkei Avos several shabbosim ago.

"Moshe received the Torah from {Hashem on Har} Sinai and transmitted it to Yehoshuah; Yehoshuah to the Zi Kay Neem {elders}; the Zi Kay Neem to the Ni Vee Eem {Prophets}, the Ni Vee Eem to the Ci Neh Sehs Godal {the men of the Great Assembly}."

Then in our world of Yiddishkeit we have the Karyhite who do not accept the Oral Torah or rabbinic authority or rabbinic law.

and there are still others....

Now Hashem said to the assimilated Jews, to the unknowledgeable Jews, to the Jews who claim to be Messianics, to Moshe Rabbeinu, to Yehoshuah, to Mordechai, to the Elders, to the Prophets, to the men of the Great Assembly, to the Karyhites and to every Jew that will ever breathe one breath on this earth, "The land, being bereft of them, will be appeased for its Sabbaths, during the time of its desolation from them and their iniquities will then be appeased {forgiven} since what certainly caused {this} is that they despised My laws and their soul loathed {rejected} My statutes." Leviticus 26:43

In other words Hashem was speaking to every Jew thousands of years ago through Moshe Rabbeinu saying, "their {plural, all of us} soul {singular, as a single unit} REJECTED my Choo Koh Sai, laws" {their soul rejected My laws} in advance of it actually occurring.

The point is RESPONSIBILITY or, in this discussion, the lack of responsibility. The Talmud expounds on a rabbinic law of this parsha, "They will stumble over one because of the other..." {Leviticus 26:37} Our Sages interpeted this to mean "because of the other's sin." Rabbi Moshe Weissman explains, "This verse teaches the fundamental Torah principle of mutual responsibility. If a Jew transgresses a Torah-law, another Jew who could protest and instead observes the transgression in silence, is held accountable for his fellow man's sin."

Unfortunately I see this all the time and have written and have objected plenty. Once when I was young in Yiddishkeit a dispute arose. I objected! The rabbi that I was disagreeing with pushed aside my valid objection by saying, "Who are you? You're not a rabbi! You're not a halachic authority!"

His slashing words cut very deep. Yet, to this I responded "I AM A JEW!" My intention was, 'As a Jew, as a Jewish brother, I cannot allow this offense to just slide by. Something has to be done about it. You as a rabbi see this offense but refuse to do anything about it.'

From a community's point of view rabbium can be VERY INTIMIDATING, especially when they are wrong! As a result lay people normally will not challenge the rabbinate. They are no match.

A Story About Being A Responsible Jew
Years ago Naomi, my wife, approached a rabbi regarding a problem. She approached the rabbi in private. It was regarding a very careless, snide statement during a Shabbos meal. His insensitivity was terribly exposed. He commented to a man regarding the man's wife's professional practice. She was a doctor. What he said was awful! If I heard correctly! Later, as my wife and I sat in the living room, I softly asked if the following comment was made. She responded, "Yes." I was shocked! It was very awkward because we were Shabbos guests in this rabbi's home.

It was at this time that Naomi went back into the dining area where the rabbi was studying and gently interrupted him. He was gracious. She requested, "When you have a minute could we discuss a matter?"

He said, "Yes, how about today after Minchah?"

After Minchah Naomi addressed the issue. She softly repeated his comment as not to challenge him. He acknowledged making it. He was understandably defensive. He responded to her in a harsh, defensive tone. He bristled like a watchdog. THERE WAS NO REMORSE as she gently questioned, "How do you suppose the doctor's husband felt about your comments?"

"I don't know! I never thought about it," he quickly replied. The rabbi continued, "He never said anything!"

Graciously Naomi continued, "Do you realize, what you said was very hurtful to the doctor's husband? Please think about it. Your comment was inappropriate."

To this the rabbi commented, ""Goes to show you, rabbis are not always perfect." He brushed aside her diligent pursuit of gentle righteousness.

On another occasion a situation was related to me of a Rosh Ha Yeshiva who belittled, degraded and insulted a fellow Jew in his presence. This person stated something to the effect that he felt like crawling under the table and hiding. He was speechless! He turned away from Yiddishkeit.

He asked me, "What should I have done?" He stated, "I felt powerless." His dismay, his helplessness was very regrettable. To a degree he felt responsible.

Dear reader, holy reader, it does not have to be like that! Remember your responsibility, "YOU ARE A JEW!"

The following story is written in The Midrash Says:

A Story About Responsibility
The passengers had been sitting many hours in the airplane, some reading, some talking, but most of them dozing off as the flight was quite uneventful.

Suddenly, though, one of the passengers opened his eyes wide at his neighbor's strange activity. The man had pulled his tool kit from his baggage and was drilling a hole under his seat with strong dexterous hands.
"What are you doing?" the neighbor asked in dismay.
"None of your business," replied the other, driving his drill deeper into the floor.

The neighbor jumped up and, running into the pilot's cabin. returned with the pilot himself.
After one glance at the scene, the pilot shouted, "Stop immediately, and hand over your tools!"
The passenger gazed at the pilot in surprise. "What do you mean?" he complained. "This is my private seat! I paid plenty of money for it!"
By this time, all the passengers had left their seats and came rushing to the scene of the action, screaming, "Fool! Idiot! No such thing as 'private seats' here! Don't you know that if you bore a hole under your seat, you endanger the lives of all aboard?!"

The fact is that every Jew is responsible for every other Jew regardless of their position, intimidation, assimilation or Messianic misunderstanding! We are responsible for each other. We are on this ship together. The safety of our ship depends on each of us watching out for each other.

Holy reader, the point to this lesson is to gently challenge the problem. Don't look the other way! Your family depends on you! Your community depends on you! Yiddishkeit depends upon your effective challenge! STOP LOOKING THE OTHER WAY! BE RESPONSIBLE! EXTEND YOURSELF!

Whenever a Jew sins that Jew injures the entire Kal Yisroel! Each Jew has the opportunity to place his or her hand in the dike. Each of us has the opportunity to help preserve!

On another note:
JewishPath is approaching our first year on the internet. In our first year over 200,000 visitors have studied on our "Sight" for which we are very grateful to Hashem. We have many success stories in our first year. We invite you to share in the mitzvah of JewishPath by sending a gift of any size. Your family name will be recorded on our FIRST YEAR SPONSORSHIP PAGE.

Thank you!

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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