01 Jun Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for B’chukotai 5776
This Shabbat we read from Parashat B’chukotai which contains the first major set of serious words of warning that God and Moses offer to the Israelite people. This warning comes in the form of the tocheicha which is an extended list of punishments that will befall the Israelite people if they don’t listen to God’s instruction. While the threats of the tocheicha are severe, it should be noted that God first offers many words of positive reinforcement to the Israelites stating all the reward that comes from following God’s commandments. The tocheicha is simply another effort to get the message through that God’s laws are to be heeded. Did they need to be scared in such a way? Perhaps not. But just as a parent tries everything to keep their children safe from the evils of the world, so too God will make every effort to keep the Israelites well informed of their choices.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik