Shabbat Message from Rabbi Metz

May 30, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message from Rabbi Metz

This week we finish reading the book of Leviticus with the portion entitled Behhukkotai. This long Hebrew word refers to God’s laws. The parsha opens with the verse: If you follow My statutes and observe My commandments and perform them, I will give your rains in their time, the Land will yield its produce, and the tree of the field will give forth its fruit.

The Torah is stating the ideal; if you do good, you will be rewarded with good in return. Simple enough of a concept, yet one that is so very difficult. This statement points to a difficulty many have with faith. How do we read these words in the Torah and look to the world and see something so very different. Many do good and live lives of poverty and hardship.

One of our members is kind, funny, and very caring. She shared with me that several years ago, she was delivering food for Kosher Meals on Wheels, and she slipped, getting back into the car. She ended up breaking her leg and needing surgery. An excellent reward for helping bring meals to those who need it!

Seeing the good suffer is one of the most challenging parts of life. We cannot control everything. Life goes on around us, and no matter how much good we do, tragedy may befall us.

So why do we read these words if they do not reflect our lived experiences? We read them as prayers and as hopes. I HOPE the soon our world will be a place where those who do good, receive only good in return. We can control our actions and live better lives that improve the world. Yet we cannot control when we will step wrong and get injured after doing an incredible mitzvah.

We can pray for our world to reflect the words of the Torah, and in the meantime, we help each other. God created us to fill in those gaps, to bring goodness and love where it is needed.

The message of this week’s Torah portion is to keep reciting the eternal words of our Torah AND to recognize where our world is not that ideal. We must then do all we can to fix it.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Metz

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat