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Thursday, Iyar 19, 5783 (Hakhel Year) 35th Sefirah / May 11, 2023


This Shabbat we read the last two Parshiot in the Book of Vayikra (Leviticus) – Parshat B’Har& Parshat B’Chukotei.


Parshat B’chukotei begins with G-d telling the Jewish people, "If in My statutes you will walk, and My commandments you will keep, then I will give you rain in the right time, the Land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will produce fruit... you shall eat your bread with satiety and dwell in safety in your land.  And I will give peace to the land and you shall not be afraid... You will chase away your enemies and they will fall by their own swords… I will place My dwelling in your midst… I will walk among you. I will be your G-d and you will be My people!”


G-d promises the Jewish people that if they observe the commandments, they will merit His many blessings.  Later in the Parsha the Torah details the many sufferings which the Jewish people will experience if, G-d forbid, they do not obey the commandments.  


The blessings take up 10 verses and the punishments over 25 verses. In reality, the blessings outnumber the punishments as they are general blessings which include many individual blessings.


The purpose of mentioning the punishments is to impress upon us the importance of obeying the mitzvot, thus avoiding the punishments, as G-d truly wants to bless us always.


G-d says, "And I will walk among you." This is indeed a special blessing to recognize that G-d walks among us at all times – in good times as well as in difficult times.


The following tale explains it beautifully and is worthwhile giving some thought when we go through difficult periods in life, which we all go through one time or another.


A person, who through his lifetime experienced difficult periods, returned his soul to its maker, when the time came.  In heaven he was shown a replay of his entire life.  He was shown all the steps he took throughout his life; where he went and what he did.  To his amazement he saw four footsteps, instead of only two. “But I have only two feet?  Why do I always see four footsteps?” he asked the angel.


“Two are yours. The other two are G-d’s. He walked with you wherever you went!” replied the angel.


“But why, as I watch the difficult times in my life and the difficult steps I went through, I see only two footsteps?  Where was G-d then?


The angel looked at him and smiled, “You’re mistaken. The two footsteps you see during your difficult journeys through life are not yours!  They are G-d’s footstepsDuring those times G-d carried you!


A powerful message indeed worth remembering!