Bechukotai 5764

June 23, 2009

6 min read


Behar-Bechukotai (Leviticus 25-27 )

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GOOD MORNING!   Almost every day Israel is under attack. Jews are murdered and injured. What are we doing about it? What can we do about it? We can be informed ourselves. We can inform others. We can be activists!

Aish HaTorah is well-known for its educational efforts to provide Jews from any background and any level of learning with an opportunity to learn the beauty, meaning and joy of our heritage. Aish is also well-know for its educational efforts and activism on behalf of Israel.

Aish graduates have created - a media watch dog - which has over 70,000 members who monitor the world press and report bias in the media. When a biased article appears in the press, an email goes out to the members with the article, an analysis of the bias, a suggested letter of response and the email addresses of the writer, the editor, the publisher. I highly recommend going to the website ( and becoming a member and a defender of the Jewish people and Israel!

While on the site, check out (and buy!) the movie Relentless - The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East. It's a must have for the serious activist. Also, look at the upcoming Leadership Mission to Israel for activists with Daniel Pipes June 20-27th!

In confronting the present challenges facing our people, Aish has created The Hasbara Fellowships - a program to train college leaders to defend Israel and to organize on campus on behalf of Israel. (Hasbara is the Hebrew word for public relations.) The Israeli Foreign Ministry asked Aish to create the program to counter anti-Israel propaganda on college campuses. 450 college students have graduated the Fellowships program.

The Hasbara Fellowships has developed materials which articulately present information to educate and counter the misinformation and prejudice. Check out -particularly the fact sheets and the handout cards - "Whose Jerusalem?" "What Do the Palestinians Really Want?" "Terrorist or Freedom Fighter? (contrasts Yasser Arafat to George Washington!) " "Martin Luther King, Jr. 'Anti-zionism equals anti-Semitism' ".

Here is the content from one piece entitled:


Misconception #1 - Jews are a foreign people without connection to
the Land of Israel.

  • Jews first came to the land of Israel as a nation, in the year 1272
    BCE, 1,800 years before the birth of Islam.

  • In the Jewish Bible, Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times.
    Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran even once.

  • Every time a Jew prays, he faces Jerusalem. Muslims face Mecca.

  • Jews have maintained a continuous presence in Israel since being
    exiled in 70 CE.

Misconception #2 - Israel is not interested in living peacefully
with its neighbors.

  • In 1947, the Jewish people accepted the UN Partition Plan although it gave the Arabs 85% of the land originally promised to the Jews by the British. The Arabs rejected the plan.

  • Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula (2 1/2 times the size of Israel) for peace with Egypt.

  • At Camp David II (2000), Israeli Prime Minister Barak offered the Palestinians:

    1. A Palestinian state comprising 91-97% of the territories (the remainder would be made up from Israel proper).

    2. Military control of Eastern Jerusalem and parts of the Old City.

    3. Repatriation of many Palestinian refugees and compensation to those who couldn't return.

Misconception #3 - The Palestinians will embrace peace if Israeli
"occupation" ends.

  • Arab nations attacked Israel 2 times before there were any "occupied territories."

  • The PLO was created in 1964, before there were any "occupied territories."

  • 40% of the West Bank and 95% of the Gaza Strip, comprising 97% of the Palestinian population, is already under direct control of the Palestinian Authority.

Misconception #4 - Israel is using excessive force in dealing with harmless Palestinian protesters.

  • Palestinian terrorists, using bombs, mortars, and automatic weapons, hide-out amongst civilians and put children on the front line.

  • Israel has placed its own soldiers in mortal danger while battling against terrorism, in order to minimize the damage to Palestinian civilians.

  • During "Black September" in the 1970s, 2,500 Palestinian rioters were killed by Jordan in 10 days. (At the current rate, it would take Israel 4 years to reach this number!)

You can get the handout cards (they are handy to have in your pocket when you get into a discussion at work or at the grocery store), you can underwrite a Fellowship to train one student leader for $2,500 or print 100,000 cards for $10,000 by contacting Elliot Mathias, 63 W. 38th St., Suite 1103, New York, NY 10018 Telephone (212) 391-6710 Fax: (212) 391-7630 or

Torah Portion of the Week

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, Bechukotai, 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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We learn from history
that we do not learn from history.

--  George Hegel (from the book
Oxymoronica by Mardy Grothe -
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Hershel Levi Fleischman
Still an inspiration!

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