Parashat Behar (On the Mountain) Leviticus 25:1-26:2
Haftarah: Jeremiah 32:6-27
Usually in years that are not Jewish leap years, Parashat Behar is always read with the following parashah, Bechukotai. This year is an exception. Many have told me that I am a week ahead of the normal schedule. This is not the case. There is simply a difference in the schedule between whether one lives in Israel or in the Diaspora. The reason for the difference had to do with the last day of Unleavened Bread. This day, according to the Torah, is a High Shabbat and this year it fell on a Friday. If one dwells in Israel, then the Passover season ended on sundown Friday and the Shabbat that followed was an ordinary Shabbat with the regular weekly Parashah. However, if one lives outside of Israel, then there is an additional day attached to the last day of Unleavened Bread, as most Holy Convocations have an extra day attached to them for those in the Diaspora (according to rabbinical law). Hence, the Shabbat which followed is called the “Eighth Day of Passover” and has its own Torah Reading. Next week, those in Israel will read only Bechukotai, while those in the Diaspora will read both Behar and Bechukotai and once again the schedule of Torah Readings for those in Israel as well as those outside of Israel will be the same. Now I will speak in regard to this week’s Parashah.
It is safe to say that the primary subject of Parashat Behar is the Land of Israel. Several commandments are spoken of concerning the Land. A simple conclusion that can be reached from this week’s Torah reading is that the Land is important to HaShem. When Israel dwells in the Land and recognizes how G-d wants us to treat and utilize this Land, He will bless Israel with many wonderful results. One such result is that the Jewish people will dwell in Israel securely (See Leviticus 25:18).
What are the implications of this? Instead of Israel engaging in political discussions about giving land away to those who want to destroy them and the modern State of Israel, Israeli leaders should focus on the Biblical commandments concerning the Land and rely on HaShem to deal with their enemies. By the way, if any of you are under the misguided impression that the Palestinians are interested in peace, then you should look closely to how many official Palestinian organizations depict a Palestinian state (on their logos, maps and flags), which claims all of Israel as its borders and not the pre-1967 allotment of land west of the Jordan River (that Jordan controlled) and the Gaza Strip. In other words, the goal and intent of the Palestinians is not a portion of the Land, but all of it; thereby eradicating the State of Israel all together.
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