Weekly Torah Portion: Behar-Bechukotai (Leviticus 25:1-27:34)


In Torah portion Behar, God describes the laws surrounding resting the land and crops every seven years, as well as the Jubilee year every 50 years. God permits the use of slaves but provides stipulations including the obligation to eventually free your slaves. Read an extensive summary of this Torah portion on My Jewish Learning

In Bechukotai, the last portion in the Book of Leviticus, God tells the people of Israel that if they follow God’s commandments, they will be provided with rain to feed their crops. God then describes the long list of punishments that will be inflicted on the Israelites if they do not follows God’s laws. Read an extensive summary of Bechukotai on My Jewish Learning

Related D’var Torah

“According to the United Nations, it is estimated that some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy life; that’s about 1 in 9 people on earth.” – Davi Cheng in 2016 read the full drash

“A little spark can go a long way. A small scholarship helped me buy books for my freshman year. A couple small scholarships helped my beloved Davi Cheng through community college and then Cal.” – Bracha Yael in 2015 read the full drash

“How many of you might use language such as “slave” or “enslaved” to describe a situation in which you find yourself? Or maybe slightly different language, something like: I’ve got to break free of him or her or it…” – Rabbi Lisa Edwards in 2000. Read the full drash

Torah Verse of the Week*

“And the land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is Mine; for you are only strangers and tenants with Me.” (Leviticus 25:23; Parshiyot B’har v’ B’khukkotai)

Other Suggested Readings

How bad is bad mouthing? Rabbi Louis Rieser discusses the devastating effects of verbal hona’ah, and Rabbi Steve Greenberg, Senior Teaching Fellow at CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership and the first openly gay Orthodox rabbi, discusses economic hona’ah – read the two articles on the Telephone Torah Study archive

‘The Impossible World: How to Restore the World to a Single Divine Reality’ by Cantor Sarah Sager. Read it here

A URJ commentary by Rabbi Robert Tornberg ‘Reflection in Multiple Ways’ asks why is it “necessary to detail both the blessings and the curses several times in Torah?” read it here

Khazak, Khazak, V’nitkhazek: Be strong, be strong and let us strengthen one another

*Torah Verse of the Week is chosen by the Torah class during Tuesdays’ studies with Rabbi Lisa Edwards. Check out when our next Torah Study takes place

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