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The Desolate Land

Behar-Bechukotai (Leviticus 25-27 )

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons

The theme of Parshat Bechukotai is the "Tochacha" - a series of devastating predictions of what will befall the Jewish people throughout history - exile, anti-Semitism, persecution, and more.


Yet we know how much the Almighty cares for us, and He never "punishes" without "sandwiching" it with love. So it is not surprising that the "dire predictions" in this parsha also contain hidden blessings.


For example, Leviticus 26:33, God declares that "I will scatter you among the nations." This is a hidden blessing, because if the Jewish camp is geographically divided, then when one community is persecuted, the other can carry on.


Also, Leviticus 26:22 says that when the Jews are in exile, the "Land [of Israel] will be desolate." This is a hidden blessing, because throughout the millennia - as numerous empires conquered the Land, and countless wars were fought for its possession - astonishingly, no conqueror ever succeeded in permanently settling Israel or causing the desert to bloom. This, of course, made it easier for the Jewish people to return in the 20th century and resettle their homeland - a hidden blessing.


God cares for us so deeply, giving us the confidence that in life, every cloud has a silver lining.



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