Parshas Bechukosai

IYAR, 5779

 Interpreting Artifacts

As in the gift of Manna, so it is in the memory of artifacts

After the exodus from Egypt, Hashem gifted the Jews with manna, ’heavenly bread’, to consume during their travels in the wilderness.

Hashem furthermore commanded Moshe:

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר משֶׁ֗ה זֶ֤ה הַדָּבָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֣ה הֹ' מְלֹ֤א הָעֹ֨מֶר֙ מִמֶּ֔נּוּ לְמִשְׁמֶ֖רֶת לְדֹרֹֽתֵיכֶ֑ם לְמַ֣עַן יִרְא֣וּ אֶת־הַלֶּ֗חֶם אֲשֶׁ֨ר הֶֽאֱכַ֤לְתִּי אֶתְכֶם֙ בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר בְּהֽוֹצִיאִ֥י אֶתְכֶ֖ם מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם

“Moses said, This is the thing that the Lord commanded: Let one omerful of it be preserved for your generations, in order that they see the bread that I fed you in the desert when I took you out of the land of Egypt.”

Like the saved Manna, the Torah is providing us with a template to preserve the meaning of the Holocaust artifact.



Dear Friend,

The Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisrael Meir HaKohen Kagan (1839 – 1933), lived in Raduń, Poland where he founded a yeshiva. He was one of the most influential leaders of Torah Jewry during the late 19th and early 20th century, and published numerous sefarim, most notably the Mishna Berura and the sefer Chofetz Chaim.



וְאִם־בְּחֻקֹּתַ֣י תִּמְאָ֔סוּ וְאִ֥ם אֶת־מִשְׁפָּטַ֖י תִּגְעַ֣ל נַפְשְׁכֶ֑ם לְבִלְתִּ֤י עֲשׂוֹת֙ אֶת־כׇּל־מִצְוֺתַ֔י לְהַפְרְכֶ֖ם אֶת־בְּרִיתִֽי

{ ויקרא כו-טו }

 "And if you despise My statutes and reject My ordinances, not performing any of My commandments, thereby breaking My covenant."

The Chofetz Chaim notes that there are people who are uncomfortable listening to the reading of the  tochachah in this week’s parshah. He refers to those who would walk out of shul rather than hear the kriah, and in some communities the tochacha would be read so quietly and garbled that the kehillah was not yotzei the mitzvah of Krias Hatorah!

The Chofetz Chaim likens this to one who is travelling and warned not to walk on a certain path. It was explained to him that the conditions on that path are rough, full of thorns, thistles and even wild animals. However, this fellow, rather than heeding the advice, decided he would just cover his face with a veil and travel on this path, figuring what he doesn’t see, won’t hurt him. We all recognize the foolishness of his actions. Not only is he doing something risky, he has made it all the worse by blinding himself to the dangers that lie ahead!

This, says the Chofetz Chaim, is what we do when we don’t pay proper attention to the tochacha. We put ourselves in worst danger when not listening and reflecting upon the messages of the tochacha in this parshah!


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