Photo of Rabbi Ettedgui

Parashat Bechukotai - 5774

My friends,

This Shabbat we read the last portion in the Book of Leviticus. It begins with a promise of blessings, if we follow G-d's ways. Blessings of a good economy, where there is no shortage of food, and people are living in security. There is also peace in the land, and a few of you can defeat many enemies. There is population growth, and G-d's presence is felt in the land because G-d's presence dwells in the Tabernacle among you (Leviticus 26:3-12).

However, if the Israelites do not follow G-d's ways and reject the commandments, terrible curses will befall the people and the land, as listed in the 31 verses that follow (Leviticus 26:14-44).

It is interesting to note the order of the blessings if we follow G-d's ways:


  1. Plenty of rain - good economy
  2. Security
  3. Peace in the land
  4. Defeating the enemy
  5. Population growth
  6. G-d's presence among you

The question that is asked is - shouldn't (4) (defeating the enemy) be before (3) (peace in the land)? The answer is that the peace alluded to in number (3) is not from enemies from outside but peace "in the land"; that is, peace among you. Only when there is peace among you - when there is unity - will you be able to defeat your enemies. If there is no peace among you, your enemies will take advantage of your disunity and you will not be able to defeat them.

What a lesson! In Israel and in America, there is too much divisiveness among our people. In these difficult days, as we face so many challenges and enemies, we need to be united and speak with one voice.

We need peace among us.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram