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Parshat Behar-Bechukotai

Dear STOCS Friend:

I just spent four days at Turning Stone. My presence was necessary to oversee the kashrut at a conference for the New York State Health Facilities Association. In my free time, I did a great deal of schmoozing with convention attendees and those who were at the casino just to gamble. I was amazed at how many people shook off the loss of thousands of dollars as having fun! One person mentioned she was ahead by two thousand dollars but the thrill of betting was far more important than the loss of two grand.

It was this casual feeling of losing money that bothered me. The Torah teaches us in Bechukosai: וְאִם־תֵּֽלְכ֤וּ עִמִּי֙ קֶ֔רִי וְלֹ֥א תֹאב֖וּ לִשְׁמֹ֣עַֽ לִ֑י “If you walk casually with me and won't listen to me” then the Torah informs us of severe repercussions. The word קֶ֔רִי casual is found seven times in this parsha.

Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch translates the word קֶ֔רִי as indifference. As Jews, we can never see our relationship with Hashem or our obligations as set forth by the Torah with a feeling of detachment. When we act in this manner Hashem removes His Divine protection from the Jewish people and as Rabbi Goldin writes, “allowing the natural course of world history to determine their fate.”

As of this writing, over nine hundred rockets have been launched towards Israel. Thank God, only one fatality, and seven were injured. We should not delude ourselves into thinking the Iron Dome or David’s Sling are protecting Israel.

It is the Divine will that affords the protection, through the defense systems and the IDF. Let us not be casual at all, concerning the Yad Hashem, the hand of Hashem, in the battle against our enemies.

Please God, let peace become the reality in Eretz Yisroel!

I look forward to seeing you in shul on Shabbas!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Shore


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