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S.A.L.T. - Monday

Rav David Silverberg

          The opening verses of Parashat Bechukotai describe the blessings of material prosperity, peace and security which God promises to grant Benei Yisrael in reward for their observance of His commands.  This section concludes, “I am the Lord your God who took you from the land of Egypt, from [your] being their slaves, and I shattered the poles of your yoke…” (26:13).

          Rashi, citing Torat Kohanim, explains why this conclusion is added to the promise of reward for observing God’s commands.  He writes that God here tells the people, “I am worthy of you believing Me that I can do all this, for after all, I took you from the land of Egypt and performed great miracles for you.”  God points to the miraculous Exodus from Egypt as proof of His infinite capabilities, so that we trust that He can grant us the rewards of peace and prosperity.

          The question arises as to whether this reminder of the miracles of the Exodus is truly necessary.  Was God concerned that Benei Yisrael would not trust His ability to reward them?

          Rav Moshe Mordechai Karp, in Va-yavinu Ba-mikra, suggests an explanation by noting that the text in the relevant passage in Torat Kohanim reads, “I am the one who performed miracles for you in Egypt; I am the one who will perform all these miracles for you in the future.”  God speaks not simply of His performing miracles, but rather of His performing miracles “for You” – for the benefit of Benei Yisrael.  Perhaps, Rav Karp writes, God needed to assure the people not that He was capable of performing miracles, but rather that He was prepared to perform miracles for them.  They might have doubted whether they would be worthy of the blessings which God promised, even if they faithfully obey His commands, in light of their sinful past.  They certainly believed in God’s omnipotence, but they questioned whether they could ever be deserving of His blessings of peace and prosperity.  God therefore pointed to the precedent of the Exodus, His bringing Benei Yisrael out of Egypt despite their having sunken to the lowest spiritual depths.  Once they displayed their faith and devotion by offering the pesach sacrifice, God miraculously brought them to freedom.  Despite their having been steeped in idol worship, God nevertheless performed miracles to free them from bondage.  God assures Benei Yisrael that they will always be deemed worthy of His blessings and miracles by devotedly observing His commands, regardless of what they have done in the past.  The Exodus demonstrates not only God’s unlimited capabilities to control world events, but also His compassion and forgiveness, that even if we are guilty of wrongdoing, He is willing to help us and bless us in reward for our current efforts to serve His faithfully.



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