June 17, 2019 ~ Sh BEHAALOTEKHA. M: SIGAH.

Shabbat Behuqotai - שבת בחקתי


The Curses

ואם לא תשמעו לי - The Torah portion "Behuqotai" contains both blessings (11 verses) and curses (29 verses). There are some customs associated with reciting the curses; both here (Leviticus 26:14-26:46) as well as in "Ki Tabo" (Deuteronomy 28). There is a custom to chant them in a more quiet voice. The curses are read as one long uninterrupted Aliya, but some sources disagree and stop midway by "VeHaAres Ezkor" (Leviticus 26:42). To start this Aliya, some repeat the last three verses of the previous Aliya (Leviticus 26:10-13) in order to avoid opening on negative note. Most sources have this portion as the fourth Aliya, while others have it as the third (without repeating from 26:10). Within the list of curses, the verse starting "VeZakharti" (Leviticus 26:42) is read louder, because it is considered a positive. Finally, this Aliya is customarily given to the Mesader or Ba'al Qore (Torah reader) as not to impose it on a regular congregant. Tiqqun Highlights, Beth Torah Bulletin, June 1, 2019.

Wake Up Call

ואם תלכו עמי קרי - While commuting to and from work this past week, I got pulled over by the cops three separate times. What makes this odd is that I have not been pulled over in well over a year. After being pulled over twice, I wrote the occurrence off as random (bad luck), but after the third time, I was shaken. Each day in the world, many events take place that appear to be coincidences. The Torah, however, warns about "going with Me [God] in 'Qeri' (Leviticus 26:21)." Many commentators explain the word 'Qeri' to mean 'casual' or 'coincidence;' derived from the word 'Miqre' (occurrence). God warns that if one treat events as random, then God, in turn, treat them in 'Qeri' (Leviticus 26:41); meaning, He will allow random things take place on them. For all events taking place, it is best to recognize that no occurrence is ever random and in some cases God may be providing a wake up call. In my case, I learned to be a more careful driver. Beth Torah Bulletin, June 1, 2019.