Behar-Bechukotai 5777

May 14, 2017

5 min read


Behar-Bechukotai (Leviticus 25-27 )

GOOD MORNING!  Who is the wise person? Our sage, Ben Zoma, tells us, "He who learns from all people" (Pirke Avos, Ethics of the Fathers 4:1). Recently, I received an email entitled "8 Things Happy People Do Differently." My response was, "WOW! This is tremendous wisdom that I want to share with all my readers. So, here are:



  1. Express gratitude -- Never let the things you WANT make you forget about the things you HAVE.
  2. Savor life's joys -- The real beauty is in each precious moment. Stop and smell the roses.
  3. Commit to your goals -- Most people who fail at reaching their dream, fail not from lack of ability, but from lack of commitment.
  4. Cultivate optimism -- Stay positive. When it rains, look for rainbows.When it is dark, look for stars.
  5. Stop over-thinking -- Thinking too much only complicates your life and creates a problem that wasn't even there in the first place.
  6. Avoid social comparison -- Most of our insecurities come from comparing our behind-the-scenes with other people's highlight reel.
  7. Increase flow experience -- Flow is a state where you are so focused it feels like time is standing still. Doing what you love and challenging yourself is how you get there.
  8. Nurture your relationships -- The happiest people alive have deep, meaningful relationships. Nurture them and watch them grow.


While I am sharing insights into happiness, the following should be of great help:


If you drop it, pick it up.
If you break it, fix it.
If you eat or drink out of it, wash it.
If you step on it, wipe it off.
If you open it, close it.
If you empty it, refill it.
If it rings, answer it.
If it howls, feed it.
If it cries, love it.


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Torah Portion of the week

Behar-Bechukosai, Leviticus 25:1 -27:34

Behar begins with the laws of Shemitah, the Sabbatical year, where the Jewish people are commanded not to plant their fields or tend to them in the seventh year. Every 50th year is the Yovel, the Jubilee year, where agricultural activity is also proscribed.

These two commandments fall into one of the seven categories of evidence that God gave the Torah. If the idea is to give the land a rest, then do not plant one-seventh of the land each year. To command an agrarian society to completely stop cultivating every 7th year one has to be either God or a meshugenah (crazy).

Also included in this portion: redeeming land which was sold, to strengthen your fellow Jew when his economic means are faltering, not to lend to your fellow Jew with interest, the laws of indentured servants. The portion ends with the admonition to not make idols, to observe the Shabbat and to revere the Sanctuary.

The second portion for this week, Bechukosai, begins with the multitude of blessings you will receive for keeping the commandments of the Torah. (Truly worth reading!) It also contains the Tochachah, words of admonition, "If you will not listen to Me and will not perform all of these commandments..." There are seven series of seven punishments each. Understand that God does not punish for punishment's sake; He wants to get our attention so that we will introspect, recognize our errors and correct our ways. God does not wish to destroy us or annul His covenant with us. He wants us to know that there are consequences for our every action; He also wants to get our attention so that we do not stray so far away that we assimilate and disappear as a nation. I highly recommend reading Lev. 26:14 - 45 and Deut. 28.

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Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"Your money you shall not give him for interest" (Leviticus 25:37).

Why does the Torah forbid lending money for interest?

Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz, former Rosh Hayeshiva of the Mir Yeshiva, explains: The Torah wants to train us to do acts of kindness for others without any gain at all. Not only is it forbidden to receive money for lending money, but the person who borrowed the money is not allowed to do any special favors for the person who lent him the money. When you lend someone money, you are doing so only because you want to help this person and you know that you will not be receiving anything material in return.

There is a strong tendency for people to keep asking, "What's in this for me?" When they do not see any personal profit or benefit in what they are doing, they are not frequently motivated to take action. The Torah ideal, however, is that we should develop the attribute of helping others for no ulterior motive. Do kindness for the sake of the kindness itself. This is the Torah's lesson in the commandment to lend others money without any form of personal gain.


Candle Lighting Times

May 19
(or go to

Jerusalem 6:56
Guatemala 6:06 - Hong Kong 6:40 - Honolulu 6:47
J'Burg 5:09 - London 8:34 - Los Angeles 7:33
Melbourne 4:58 - Mexico City 7:48 - Miami 7:44
New York 7:52 - Singapore 6:48 - Toronto 8:22

Quote of the Week

Logic will take you from point A to point B.
Imagination will take you everywhere.
--  Albert Einstein (maybe)



In Loving Memory of our son
Yehuda Leon

Myrna & Hanoj Perez

Wirh Special Thanks to
Moshe Eliyahu &
Barbara Growald

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