Shalom in the Land

The most effective measure that the modern state of Israel could take to improve the security situation is to turn back to the Torah and place hope in the Messiah.

The Hebrew word shalom is more than just a greeting. It means "peace" and "wholeness." (Image: © Bigstock)

Behar-Bechukotai

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Behar-Bechukotai (בהר/בחקותי | On the mountain/In my statutes)
  • Torah: Leviticus 25:1-27:34
  • Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
  • Gospel: Luke 4:14-22; Matthew 16:20-28

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Leviticus 25:1 | The Sabbatical Year
    • Leviticus 25:8 | The Year of Jubilee
    • Leviticus 26:1 | Rewards for Obedience
    • Leviticus 26:14 | Penalties for Disobedience
    • Leviticus 27:1 | Votive Offerings
  • Prophets
    • Jer 16:14 | God Will Restore Israel
    • Jer 17:1 | Judah's Sin and Punishment
    • Jer 17:14 | Jeremiah Prays for Vindication
    • Jer 17:19 | Hallow the Sabbath Day

Portion Summary

Behar

The thirty-second reading from the Torah and second-to-last reading from the book of Leviticus is called Behar (בהר), which means "On the Mountain." The name comes from the first words of the first verse of the reading, which could be literally translated to read, "The LORD then spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai" (Leviticus 25:1). This portion from the Torah introduces the laws of the sabbatical years, the jubilee and laws concerning redemption. In most years, synagogues read Behar together with the following portion, Bechukotai.

Bechukotai

The last reading from the book of Leviticus is called Bechukotai (בחקותי), which means "In My Statutes." The name comes from the first verse of the reading, which begins with the words "If you walk in My statutes ..." (Leviticus 26:3). This last reading from Leviticus promises blessings and rewards for Israel if they will keep the Torah, but punishment and curses if they break the commandments of the Torah. The last chapter discusses laws pertaining to vows, valuations and tithes. In most years, synagogues read Bechukotai together with the preceding portion, Behar.


When the nation of Israel as a whole is walking in covenant faithfulness, she will experience shalom (שלום) in the land. The Hebrew word shalom is more than just a greeting. It means "peace" and "wholeness." In this context it refers to security from enemies. Moreover, the Torah promises protection from harmful beasts in the land.

I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land. (Leviticus 26:6)

Anyone who follows the news from the Middle East knows that the modern State of Israel does not currently enjoy a complete peace. Since the formation of the Jewish state, 70 years ago, the tiny nation of Israel has been sorely vexed by enemies both outside and inside her borders. The shalom of Israel is under constant threat from the hostile neighbor nations and from terrorists.

Leviticus says that when the nation of Israel as a whole is walking in covenant faithfulness, she will vanquish her enemies. The Torah says that, "Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword" (Leviticus 26:8). Five Jews will pursue a hundred of Israel's enemies, and a hundred Jews will chase down ten thousand enemies. Notice that the ratio is not consistent between the five Jews and the hundred Jews. Five chasing one hundred yields a ratio of 1:20. One hundred chasing ten thousand yields a ratio of 1:100. Why the discrepancy?

Rashi explains, "You cannot compare a few who do the Torah to many who do the Torah." In other words, the power of righteous people banding together increases exponentially. Five Torah keepers are great. They possess the spiritual potential by which each one of them can single-handedly defeat twenty of Israel's enemies. One hundred Torah keepers have even greater spiritual potential. Each one of them possesses the potential to single-handedly defeat one hundred of Israel's enemies.

This teaches that each individual who joins himself to the ranks of the faithful increases their efficacy by more than one. I am not sure if they will literally work on the field of battle until Messiah is at the head of the army, but remember the story of Jonathan and his armor bearer who single-handedly defeated a battalion of Philistines.

The point is that each person is critical to the whole. Likewise, the body of believers is more than just the sum of its parts. Each person who commits to a life of discipleship exponentially strengthens the entire body.

According to Leviticus, the most effective measure Israel could take to improve her security situation is to turn to the commandments of the Torah. When Messiah comes, He will fully turn Israel's hearts back to Torah, and He will establish complete shalom in the land.

Pray for peace in the Land! Pray for the welfare of the State of Israel.

Join the Conversation:

FFOZ Friends are individuals, families, or congregations who resonate with the mission and vision of First Fruits of Zion and contribute financially towards reaching our ministry objectives.

Become a Friend!

Share this Teaching

Torah Club is an interactive group Bible study that brings together disciples from diverse backgrounds to share the common ground of new discovery. We have more than three hundred clubs forming around the world. Find a Torah Club in your area. If there is none, prayerfully consider joining our global mission and start a club in your area—there are others like you who want to be a part of Torah Club.

Learn More


Get the Email Newsletter

The Weekly eDrash

Get inspirational teachings on the Torah Portions delivered to your inbox free every week. Insightful commentary from Genesis to Deuteronomy!

EMAIL NEWSLETTER SIGN UP


Related Commentary

Torah Portions Library

Unlock all the portion library articles: sign in, or join our Core community »


© 2018 First Fruits of Zion, Inc., All Rights Reserved

FOLLOW US ON

First Fruits of Zion

© 2018, All Rights Reserved

Copyright Privacy Contact Help Donate