Parashat Chukat (Law of) Numbers 19:1-22:1
Maftir: Numbers 28:9-15
Haftarah: Isaiah 66:1-24
Shabbat Rosh Chodesh
How does your faith impact your decisions? Many times I hear politicians say that their personal belief on a given subject may be one thing, but they cast their vote for something which is the exact opposite of their personal convictions, saying that they do not want to impose their religious beliefs upon others. Such a behavior is rooted in a philosophy that religion should be limited to holidays, weddings, funerals, and the like; but have no place in government. When studying the Bible, one finds that there is a great deal of Scripture which deals with how leaders should govern the people. In other words, one’s religious conviction should have strong influence on how a person views the very issues that many would call political.
In this week’s Torah portion the Children of Israel were moving closer and closer to taking possession of their inheritance—the land of Canaan. As G-d was leading them, it became clear that they would need to pass through the land which belonged to the Amorites. Therefore Israel sent messengers to Sichon, the king of the Amorites, saying,
“I will pass through your land not turning into the field or into the vineyard; we will not drink well water on the way, on the king’s road we will go until we should pass your border.”
Sichon rejected this reasonable request and even went out immediately in order to wage war against the Children of Israel. Such a response is not logical. Rashi offers the possibility that there existed an alliance between the Amorites and the Canaanites and therefore Sichon had to reject Israel’s request. Whether Rashi’s conjecture is correct or not, it is impossible to know; however, even if there were some agreement between the Amorites and the Canaanites, Sichon did not have to attack Israel. Such a decision proved to be costly for the Amorites, as not only did they lose the battle, but also their land. This is just one of the numerous examples that confirms what G-d told Abraham in Genesis chapter 12,
“I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you…” Genesis 12:3
G-d’s plan and His truth is not just reserved for when one is inside a synagogue or church, nor do they only involve issues that the world would characterize as religious. The revelation of the Word of G-d should touch every aspect which relates to human existence; failure to realize this and to act accordingly, will position you on the side of defeat and you will find the things which G-d wanted to bless you with going to others who acknowledge Him in all their ways.
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