Divrei Torah

The Divrei Torah in this section have been translated by Rav Reuven Ungar, Director of Alumni Affairs

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Influencing the Community

By: Rav Yoel Amital
ram in Yeshivat Shaalvim

"If you will walk in my statutes, and observe my commandments, and perform them. I will bring rain at the appropriate times, the land will yield its' produce... you will eat your bread to satisfaction, you will reside in your land with security".

 The Midrash associates "walking in my statutes (bechukotai teleychu)" with the verse in Psalms (119) "I contemplated my paths and I led my feet towards your precepts". King David proclaimed to Hashem that he intended to arrive at specific locations and dwellings; yet his legs brought him to synagogues and to houses of study.

The Midrash endeavors to explain the juxtaposition of walking and statutes. They reveal to us that the intention is toil in Torah study. How can this be understood- the simple reading of the text (peshuto shel mikra) refers to economic prosperity in the Land of Israel! National issues are outlined by the Torah; how do Chazal interpret the verses as referring to seemingly private spiritual aspirations in the realm of prayer and Torah study?

This question applies to the commentary of Rashi as well, who marshals the view of Chazal   that bechukotai teleychu refers to intensive Torah study (for performance of the mitzvoth is related to in the continuation of the verse- "and observe my commandments"). How are private spiritual pursuits connected to the well-being of the community at large?

Precisely in our era, we are equipped to understand the connection between the community and the individual. It is apparent how the financial difficulties of the people as a whole affect everyone. They are not solely the problem of the government to solve. It concerns me, my family and my neighbors. We all must endeavor to rise to the challenges that afflict the Jewish People.

The parshiot of Behar and Bechukotai refer to the Jewish People as a whole. Chazal reveal to us that the status of the community is dependent upon the toil of the individual in Torah study. Do our aspirations lead us to the house of study?

The Torah proclaims to those who sit in the house of study: "Don't think that what occurs to the community at large does not affect you. You may not remain oblivious! If you walk in my precepts- that you are sensitive to the needs of the community- and act accordingly, then you will influence the masses. Toil in Torah; this will enable the Jewish People to merit to all the blessings enumerated in the Torah.


Categorized under: 1: Parshat Shavua > Bechukotai
2: Parshat Shavua > Behar Bechukotai
Uploaded: 5/16/2006 11:11:49 AM