Parashat Behar (On the Mountain) Leviticus 25:1-26:2
Haftarah: Jeremiah 32:6-27
Whenever one begins to discuss the Middle East and Israel is mentioned, security needs for Israel is a major topic. Such concerns are legitimate, as the goal of many of her neighbors is for Israel’s destruction. The Israeli government has outlined many requirements that must be met, in order that Israel’s security concerns are achieved. Because I do not have any expertise in this issue I will not comment on these requirements, but rather accept the Israeli government’s analysis. What I will say is that as legitimate as these security needs are and as proper as the requirements may be, true security will not be reached until the Israelis acknowledge that ultimately true security can only be provided by HaShem.
In this week’s Torah portion the reader encounters a verse that clearly states that dwelling securely in the Land of Israel is an outcome of obedience to the Word of G-d and not just a military issue.
“And you shall do My statutes and My judgments you shall keep, you shall do them; and you will dwell on the Land securely.” Leviticus 25:18
This week we observed Israel’s Memorial Day for the soldiers who died in service to their country and we also celebrated Israel’s Independence Day. Obviously there is a connection between those who fought and died in creating and maintaining the modern State of Israel. This recognition and appreciation cannot be over emphasized. However, not to include the G-d of Israel as the primary factor in the establishment and maintaining of this small country surrounded by enemies is a major oversight. I do not believe it is a mere coincidence that this week’s Parashah is read when it is. The fore mentioned verse is a powerful reminder that Jewish people live today in Israel as an outcome of the providence of HaShem. We live in our historical homeland, not simply to represent a Jewish state, but because of a prophetic purpose.
It is the failure by the vast majority of Israelis to recognize this prophetic purpose as well as a growing number within Christianity who does the same, that keeps the Middle East in turmoil. What I am suggesting is that until Israel embraces the laws and decrees of G-d and believers understand our role to provoke them to do so, Israel will not experience the security that she seeks and deserves. It is not by accident that the laws concerning shemittah (the seventh year) and the Jubilee year are included in this week’s Torah portion. These laws require those who dwell in Israel to trust HaShem and apply their faith to their daily lives. In other words, these laws teach that it is incorrect to compartmentalize the spiritual and secular into two separate places. True faith touches and impacts every aspect of one’s being. Failure to do so is seen in the eyes of G-d as a rejection of His presence and power in one’s life. The psalmist said it best,
“If HaShem will not guard the city, futility is the diligence of the watchman.”
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