Monday, April 29, 2013

Finding Hope - Parashat Behar Bechukotai


This week, we read the double portion of Behar-Bechukotai. In it, we read in Leviticus 26: 3-12

"If you follow my laws and faithfully observe My commandments, I will grant your rains in their season, so that the earth shall yield its produce and the trees of the field their fruit.  Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and your vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your fill of bread and dwell securely in your land.  I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down untroubled by anyone; I will give the land respite from vicious beast, and no sword shall cross your land.  Your army shall give chase to your enemies and they shall fall before you by the sword.....I will be ever-present in your midst: I will be your God, and you shall be My people."

This is such a powerful message of hope during a time that was so difficult for our ancestors. It was hard not to give in to despair. But through those difficult days in the desert, the Israelites gained strength from each other, and built a community that performed acts of kindness and faith.

And just a couple of weeks ago, at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, on a day that celebrates Spring and Freedom, resilience and hope were tested yet again.
Oklahoma City, Columbine, 9/11, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Gabby Giffords, Aurora Movie Theatre, Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon
We will not give into despair. We are resilient.
"So if you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil--that's it." said President Obama. "Selflessly. Compassionately. Unafraid."


And just like in ancient days, we will gather strength from each other. The strength is in our gathering.

Countless lives have been changed forever, and life is certainly not perfect. But, hope and faith will forever lose its meaning unless we can really appreciate the blessings that we do have. And that is the only way that we can turn our attention to moving forward toward the future.

So, we reach the end of the Book of Leviticus.

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