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  KD MAGAZINE!                    ב"ה      
 
 
     
 
Parshat Bechukotai
Candelighting 5/23/08 - 7:55 PM (DST New York City)

Growth
Rabbi Chaim Lobel
Young Israel of Aberdeen

(Leviticus; Chapter 26, Verse 3) "If you will go in My (G-d) statutes and observe the commandments and perform them." Parshat Bechukotai is an in depth explanation of what will happen when the Children of Israel do or do not perform the statutes of the Torah.

The Torah commands us to perform all the mitzvoth, all 613 commandments in letter and spirit. But what if we don't feel up to the task? What if 613 commandments, in all their complexities and exacting demands, appear too difficult?

The Medrash Rabba (Vayikra Rabba 35:1) quotes the verse in Psalms (119: 59) "I considered my ways and returned my feet to your testimonies." The Medrash then quotes Rav Huna in the name of Rav Acha - "I considered the reward and penalties of the Torah's commandments and prohibitions and returned my feet to your testimonies."

The Yeffe Toar says the Medrash is commenting on the Torah verse, "if you will go in My (G-d's) statutes." Both Psalms and Rav Acha are advising that, in order to return to G-d's testimonies, one must consider his ways.

As the Yeffe Toar explains, even Rav Acha had to struggle. When Rav Acha first performed G-d's commandments, he did so to receive reward. As Rav Acha became accustomed to doing mitzvot, he began to perform his duty out of sheer love for Torah and its ultimate good; as the verse in psalms states, "I considered my ways and returned my feet to your testimonies."

The Torah's requirements appear daunting, demanding so much from even the simplest person. But personal development is a journey taken one step at a time. When G-d proclaims, "If you will go in My statutes", his focus is on growth. With this mindset one is sure to succeed.

***

Rabbi Chaim Lobel is the Rabbi of Young Israel of Aberdeen, Congregation Bet Tefilah, Aberdeen, NJ. http://www.yiaberdeen.com/index.html


 
   
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