This week we have a double Parsha, Behar and Bechukotai. Parshat Behar speaks of the laws of the Sabbatical year, the Shemitah. Every seventh year, all farming, plowing, sowing... is forbidden in the Land of Israel. Can you believe that an entire nation, with an agrarian economy, took a collective vacation in every seventh year? Imagine the amount of faith that the Jewish People must have had to keep the Shemitah. Many people today tend to relegate G-d to the synagogue, holidays or study halls but when it comes to business, it's a different story. Judaism believes no such thing. It is impossible to claim to be a good Jew by keeping shabbos, kashurt etc. while being a dishonest person. The Talmud claims that the first question that one is asked in Heaven by Hashem is whether they dealt honestly in business.
In the second parsha, Bechukotai, Hashem promises the Jewish people peace, security, prosperity and longevity if they follow his commandments. In the second half of the Parsha, G-d wanrs the Jewish People of the horrendous punishments that we will suffer if we forsake his laws. G-d also warns us not to claim that our punishments are mere keri- coincidence. Leviticus 23-24: "And if despite these you will not be chastised towards Me, and you walk with me KERI- in happenstance; then I, too, shall walk with you B'KERI- in happenstance, and so I will strike you seven times your sins " Whatever befalls the People of Israel is a sign from G-d calling on us to do teshuvah and return to Him. Why is the madman Ahmadinejad clamoring to destroy Israel? King David in Psalms gives us an answer:
"But my people did not listen to my words; Israel did not obey me.
So I gave them over to hardness of heart; they followed their own designs.
But even now if my people would listen, if Israel would walk in my paths,
In a moment I would subdue their foes, against their enemies unleash my hand.
Those who hate Hashem would tremble, their doom sealed forever.
But Israel I would feed with the finest wheat, satisfy them with honey from the rock." (Psalm 81)