|Questions and Concepts for Behar and Bechukotai
(Leviticus 25:1 - 27:34)
- There are two Parsha readings this week. Parsha Behar starts with the laws of
"Shemitah," also called the Sabbatical year. This is where the people are
commanded not to plant crops or even tend their fields every seventh year. In addition,
every 50th year is the Yovel, also called the Jubilee year, where agricultural activity is
also prohibited. On the surface these commands may seem to be concerned with "giving
the land a rest," however if this were the case, it would be much wiser to simply not
plant one-seventh of the land each year. For a society dependent on farming, as Israel
was, to not plant at all for a full year made no sense.
- How does the above, along with the words that the land is to "have its
Sabbath," and the fact that this command is given right at Mount Sinai, indicate that
the Shemitah has to do with deeper spiritual matters? How does the Shemitah command
present us with a clear choice of having total faith in God or relying on our own efforts?
- How does the command show a level of holiness of the actual land of Israel and its
produce? How are those who live in the land of Israel like people who live in the palace
of a King? What does this mean regarding the standards such people are held to by God? How
does this idea relate to the strict punishment God applies for violating the Shemitah
- The second Parsha for this week, Bechukotai, begins with the blessings that
would be receive for keeping the commandments of the Torah. It also contains a stern
warning for God, regarding the consequences for not obeying. The commands of the Torah of
Sinai were given as the people were making a transition from the miraculous way of living
they experienced in their departure from Egypt to living a "normal" lifestyle in
the Promised Land that they were heading to.
- Seen in this context, Why is it necessary to live both in the world as well as
"apart" from it in order to uplift the rest of the world? How does this compare
to Yeshua words of being in the world but not of it? How do the Torah commandments
correlate to the importance of the mission of being a "royal priesthood" for God
in this world? How does this compare to Yeshuas words to His Jewish brethren, of
being a light to the World and His not changing the Torah by even one jot or tittle?
(Matthew, chapter 5)
- If the message of the first Parsha, Behar, concerns trusting in God and not our own
labors, how does the following Parsha, Bechukotai, show us where we must therefore devote
- In this Parsha [26:3-4], God says "If you will follow My statutes and observe
My laws and you will do them; then I have given your rains in their time and the land will
give its produce, and the tree of the field will give its fruit." How does this
relate to being a "hearer and doer" of the Torah, as taught in the books of
Romans and "James?"
- How does the energy we invest in being such a "hearer and doer" of Torah
compare to work in the physical realm in terms of how we define the "reward" or
"success" of each?
- Consider this concept:
The Shemitah cycle and Yovel year are based on the number "seven." The
Shemitah cycle parallel the seven days of creation and the Sabbath day, in that the
seventh day of the "week" is a day of rest. It also corresponds to the idea that
the earth will exist (as we know it) for six thousand years, followed by a time of rest in
the seventh millennium. The shofar was sounded on the Yom Kippur of the Jubilee year to
proclaim in the name of God. This parallels the "last trumpet" mentioned by
Shaul (Paul) in 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4, announcing the coming of
Messiah and the Millennial Kingdom. The Yovel, which is the 50th year,
corresponds to both Shavuot in the spring and the eighth day of Sukkot in the fall, and
relate to the Olam Haba (World to Come). In all cases, the "seventh" (day or
week) goes directly into the "eighth."