Bechukotai opens with the extraordinary national “blessings” – security, economic prosperity, population growth, peace, a direct connection with God – that are promised to Israel “if you follow My laws”. The vision presented by these verses is uplifting and inspirational. Amongst these wonderful prospects, we read about Israel’s military supremacy:
I will grant peace in the land, and you sleep untroubled…and no sword shall cross your land. You shall give chase to your enemies…Five of you shall give chase to a hundred, and a hundred of you shall give chase to ten thousand; your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. (26:6-8)
One observation is that even while blessed by peace on the domestic front – in the best of times – there will still be a need for a military, and the army will be busy fending off threats from our enemies. Peace, in this vision, is not absolute.
Click here to read more by Rabbi Alex Israel in this week’s Parsha Discussion: Bechukotai – The Power of Many.
Alex teaches Bible at Pardes and is the Director of the Community Education Program and the Summer Program. Alex was born and raised in London. He holds degrees from London School of Economics, the Institute of Education London and Bar-Ilan University. Alex studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion under Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and Rav Yehudah Amital, and gained Rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Rabbinate. Click here to read more.