Parshat Behar-Bechukotai 2018


Parshat Behar-Bechukotai
By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron


לשכנו תדרשו
Inviting the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
I Will Grant Peace in the Land

“Blessed are You HaShem Who blesses His People Israel with peace.”
Our Sages teach that the greatest blessing is peace, as it says “HaShem will bless His People with peace.” This teaching also explains why the Amida prayer culminates with the blessing for peace, as this is the ultimate blessing. So great is the value of peace that, according to our Sages, even HaShem’s Name is coined “Peace,” on basis of Gideon the Judge’s calling an altar “HaShem Shalom.”
Based on this teaching we can also understand why our Sages describe the last three blessings of the Amida as blessings of thanksgiving, versus the first three blessings of the Amida considered to be “praise” and the middle blessings being “request.” In thanksgiving one describes one’s gratitude for a gift received by the “giver.” In essence, by this sign of gratitude one wishes to express that the gift received is an “extension” of the good essence of the “giver” and not a matter to be taken for granted as if the gift could have been received regardless of the “giver”. Therefore, when thanking God we are essentially expressing that the gift given is so-to-speak a “revelation” of HaShem’s Presence in our lives. Therefore, we understand clearly why the blessing for the return of the Holy Presence is part of the corpus of the “last three blessings of thanksgiving,” as the “Holy Presence” mentioned in this blessing is essentially tied with the “revelation” of HaShem’s Presence in our lives we just described in thanksgiving. Similarly, just as “Peace” is God’s Name, so too the blessing for peace is essentially an acknowledgment of God’s Name and Presence in our lives, as we described in the blessing for the return of the Holy Presence, here in the form of peace. Indeed, we also culminate the “Blessing of Thanksgiving” itself with the words “good is Your Name, and it is befitting to thank You.” In this way, all three last blessings of the Amida contain the theme of “HaShem’s Name,” for the Holy Presence, mentioned in the first of these last three blessings, is identified with “HaShem’s Name” as can be seen, as one of many sources, in Onkelos’ translation of the verse “wherever I mention my Name” as meaning “wherever I rest my Presence.”
In the blessings of this parsha the terms used to describe the blessing of peace are: “I will grant peace in the Land.” Based on what we have just explained how the blessing for peace and the blessing for the return of the Holy Presence are integrally related, we now can more deeply understand this verse. The blessing for the return of the Holy Presence ties this return specifically with “Zion,” as our primary request is that this Holy Presence return to our Holy Land and Temple. Therefore, the revelation of “Peace” at its ultimate level as God’s Name and as a revelation of HaShem’s Presence in our lives is ultimately “in the Land,” as stated by the fore-mentioned verse.
Isaiah’s description of the People of Israel as a husband and the Holy Land as Israel’s “wife”, sheds even more light on the words “peace in the Land”. Just as blessing and the resting of the Holy Presence in a household comes through the peace between husband and wife, so too it is specifically through the un-severed connection between our People and our Holy Land, i.e ‘peace’ between Israel and the Holy Land, that the blessings of the Holy Presence generally, and the Light of Peace specifically, will be manifest in the Land of Israel and bestowed upon all earth. Key to this unity between Israel and the Holy Land is Hebron, which itself means “unity.” Indeed, this is Hebron from which, the Tikunei Zohar states, the sounds of redemption will be heard, calling all Israel to be ingathered and united in our Holy Land.
The ingathering of exiles to our Holy Land is not only an external enjoinment of the scattered groups or masses of our People, or an enjoinment of social or even spiritual powers of our People. The ingathering of exiles to our Holy Land, unites – ‘mehaber’ – all the factions of our People in the Light of Hebron, leading to an internal rebirth of our People as one whole – ‘Shalem’, a name of Jerusalem – in the Light of Peace – ‘Shalom’ – emanating from the One Holy Presence.
One of the famous rabbis of Hebron known for his gifted ability in peace-making, and whose name ‘Saliman’, a hebro-arabic version of the name Shlomo, also means peace, was Rabbi Saliman Menahem Mani. Saliman was born to his father Rabbi Eliyahu Mani in 5610 (1850) in Baghdad. In 5616, as a small boy, he travelled three months from Baghdad to the Land of Israel with his family, later settling with his family in Hebron. In Hebron, Rabbi Saliman became a pupil of the chief rabbi of Hebron, Rabbi Moshe Ferera, and also married his daughter, Rayna. Rabbi Saliman helped his father, the chief rabbi of Hebron after Rabbi Ferera, to lead the community of Hebron even during times of plague and famine. Indeed, about thirty years later, in 5665 (1905), Rabbi Saliman himself became the chief rabbi of Hebron after the passing of the ‘Sdey Hemed,’ Rabbi Hizkiyahu Medini, also then leading Hebron’s community through the pressing times of the First World War. His yeshiva in Hebron, “Maaseh Nisim”, continued to operate during the First World War, when many other Torah institutions ceased to exist temporarily. Rabbi Saliman passed away in 5684 (1924). His sermons were published posthumously in the book “Mimeni Piryecha,” and his halachic rulings are brought in the book “Maaseh Eliyahu.”


Real Stories from the Holy Land #264

“We had been childless for numbers of years. One day, I decided to donate my kidney to a person in need of a kidney transplant. Just a month after doing this, I received the news that my wife was pregnant…”


Sources: Sefer Hebron p. 133, Wikipedia, Judges 6, 24, Shabbat 10b

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