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Behar: G-D's Magic Formula Is Israel's Strength

May 2000

G-D's Magic Formula / Parasha Behar:

Today is a very dark and troubling time for Jews in and out of the Diaspora. We are living in a time when a hostile foreign enemy is being escorted (by the Jews themselves) to the very gates of Jerusalem. As this happens, we helplessly watch in horror, as our worst fears are materializing in front of our eyes.

While it is true that there is only so much that Jews in the Diaspora can do for our Jewish Brethren in Eretz Yisrael… this week's parsh.jpg (2373 bytes) offers fresh light and hope for a future of safety, prosperity, and even redemption for Jews in Eretz Yisrael. This week's Parasha and Haftarah describe a formula for diverting evil (in favor of deliverance) by laying out conditions for Israel's ultimate safety and good. As a people of faith, we (as Jews) have a responsibility in every day and age to do our utmost to protect and defend our Holy Land (through Divine Service via the commandments) no matter how dark things may now appear.

Today, an actual war is being waged (by Arab nations) to conquer our land and break our spirit by killing and terrorizing our people. At all costs--we must not let the enemy break our spirit, faith, and fear of G-D --as only these things can save our ancient people and land. Indeed, this week's Parasha gives the very formula for accomplishing this seemingly difficult task. Only the love and fear of G-D and His commandments can obtain the safety of our suffering land and people. Below, I shall describe this formula through the metaphor of a cure.

HERE IS G-D's MAGIC FORMULA FOR A PROSPEROUS AND SAFE ISRAEL. Please prepare the ingredients carefully. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In this week's Parasha it says:

"And you shall not wrong, one man his fellow and you shall fear your G-D; for I am the L-rd you G-D" -- Viyikra 25:17

And you shall not wrong - On this verse , our Oral Law comments as follows: "The Rabbis taught: The previous verse (14) 'And if you sell a selling to your fellow… you shall not wrong' already speaks of wronging in money matters. How, then, are we to understand our verse (#17 above) : 'And you shall not wrong, one man his fellow'? The answers is that it refers to 'wronging' with words " --Bava Metzia 58b

R. Yohanan said on the authority of R. Simeon Ben Yohai: 'Wronging through speech is more heinous then wronging in money matters.' For the first, it is written, "Thou shalt fear thy G-D." whereas of the second, "Thou shalt fear thy G-D" is not written. R. Eleazar said: The first affects a victim’s very person; the second only his money. R. Samuel bar Nahmani said: For the second, restoration is possible; but not for the first."

one man his fellow - "R. Huna said: 'And you shall not wrong him, one man his fellow' [amitho] - One who is with you [im sheitecha (play on amitho)] in Torah and mitzwoth, do not wrong him -- Ibid. 59a

and you shall fear your G-D - "Whatever is relegated to the heart (i.e., what one knows to be wrong in his heart, though its wrongness does not appear on the surface-of such things it is written: 'And you shall fear your G-D' "

Ingredient #3: Follow G-D's Statutes & Judgements

The Parasha continues: "And you shall do My statutes, and My judgments you shall heed and you shall do them, and you shall dwell on the land securely. And the land will give its fruit and you will eat to satiety, and you will dwell securely upon it"

And you will dwell securely upon it - "securely" - and not scattered, and not afraid; "upon it" and not in exile (Torath Cohanim) ______________________________________________________________________________________

The last ingredient comes from this week's reading of Jeremiah 16-19. This happens to be one of my personal favorite verses of all time. It is the kind of prophecy that lends itself to the strengthening of spiritual energy in a very powerful way.

"O' Lord, Who is my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods. Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and might, and they shall know that my Name is the Lord." -- Jeremiah 16:9