Pearls of Rashi – Parshas Behar-Bechukosai

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This week’s Torah portion tells us the beautiful rewards which Hashem will give us[1], “If you follow My statutes and observe My commandments and perform them…” The fact that the Torah says in the same verse “follow My statutes” and “observe My commandments” seems to be repetitious. They both mean the same thing! Therefore, Rashi cites the words “if you follow My statutes,” and gives the following explanation. “I might think that this refers to the fulfillment of the commandments. However, when the Torah says ‘and observe My commandments,’ the fulfillment of the commandments is (already) stated. So, what is the meaning of ‘If you follow My statutes’? It means that you must toil in the study of Torah.” In other words, when the Torah says to follow in Hashem’s statutes here, what it means is to work and struggle in the study of Torah.

Many of the commentaries ask from where Rashi derives that this refers specifically to toiling in Torah study. We know that it does not mean Mitzvah observance. Perhaps it relates to studying the Torah? Why should we say that it means specifically toiling in Torah?

The Rebbe explains that Torah study is one of the 613 Mitzvos; hence it could not refer to merely learning Torah. Several words further it says “observe My commands, which already includes Torah study. It must mean a facet of learning. Therefore, Rashi explains that it means toiling in studying the Torah, striving, sweating to come to a proper understanding of what the Torah means.

One can perform all Mitzvos according to the “letter of the law.” One can complete the bare minimum requirements and still fulfill his obligation. However, to be a faithful servant of Hashem, one must use all his faculties to carry out G-d’s Will. Granted, by studying one chapter of Torah evening and morning, one can fulfill Hashem’s commandment to study. However, that is not enough for one who realizes that the Torah is his “reason for being.” It is only by toiling with every fiber of one’s being that he expresses his steadfast commitment to the Torah.

The rewards listed here begin with[2] “I will give your rains in their time, the Land will yield its produce, and the tree of the field will give forth its fruit…” The rewards are in ascending order. Each promise is greater than the one preceding it. The ultimate reward is that Hashem will[3] “…lead us upright” to the complete and true redemption through our righteous Moshiach. The only way to receive all these rewards is by using our entire being, with all of our strength to serve G-d Almighty!

I wish one and all a Good Shabbos! May we all have a happy and meaningful Lag B’Omer!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 17, Page 313

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

לזכות חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
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נדפס ע”י הוריהם הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס

[1]. Our Parshah, Vayikroh 26:3.

[2]. Ibid., ibid. 26:4.

[3]. Ibid., ibid. Vayikroh 26:13.

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