Shabbat Chazak - Iyar 26


May 8, 2021: Parashah Behar ("on Mount") & Bechukotai ("My decrees")
Torah: (Vayikra) Leviticus 25:1 – 26:2 & 26:3 – 27:34
Halftarah: Jeremiah 16:19 – 17:14

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Shabbat Chazzak - Concluding the book of Vayikra

Chazzak! Chazzak! Venischazeik!
Be Strong! Be Strong! And may we be strengthened!



In the evening count Omer 42

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In the News

  • April 30, 2021 - Tragedy at Meron

    An estimated 100,000 mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews had gathered on Mount Meron to celebrate Lag B'Omer holiday. A stampede early Friday at this mountainside religious celebration left at least 45 people dead and scores more injured.

  • April 22, 2021 - Syrian missile explodes near Israeli reactor

    A stray Syrian anti-aircraft missile that missed Israeli warplanes landed near the Dimona nuclear facility. The older model Russian-made SA-5 missile was apparently fired at Israeli planes, missed its target and kept flying until it reached southern Israel in the area of Dimona, near Israel’s nuclear facility.

  • March 17, 1992 - Attack on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina

    29 civilians were killed in the attack and 242 additional civilians were injured. Today, we remember the victims of the terror attack carried out by Hezbollah at the Israeli Embassy.

  • March 3 - Offshore Oil Spill

    Last week, an offshore oil spill deposited tons of tar along Israel’s Mediterranean coast in one of the country’s worst ecological disasters.
    In response, thousands of IDF soldiers stepped up to the plate and joined with the Nature Parks Authority to assist in the cleanup effort and help rescue wildlife.
    Israeli soldiers don’t just protect the Jewish state’s borders, but they keep the environment safe as well.

  • February 10 - Israel’s “miracle drug” produced remarkable results fighting COVID-19

    A new Israeli coronavirus medicine called EXO-CD24 was administered to 30 patients with moderate or worse coronavirus conditions. All 30 recovered, with 29 of the patients recovering in three to five days.
    According to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Medical Center, the results represent a “huge breakthrough.” The medicine is administered via an inhaler and it is in phase one trial.

  • January 13 - Iran is building its nuclear stockpile

    Iran has been ramping up its nuclear program and has stepped up uranium enrichment to 20%, which is 90% of the way to bomb material.
    The regime passed a decision in their parliament to destroy Israel. It has also been threatening to bar International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors.
    Iran’s actions make it clear that their intention is to produce nuclear weapons.
    The International community must maintain sanctions until the regime changes course and ceases to advance its nuclear weapons program.

PLEASE NOTE: In the Jewish tradition the first three days of the week, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, are part of the conclusion of the Shabbat, and are called “the succeeding days of the Shabbat,” the last three days of the week, beginning with Wednesday, are called “the preceding days of the Shabbat,” therefore, in keeping with this tradition, I will not change the commentary on the Parashah until Wednesday.  



Parashat Behar ("on Mount") & Bechukotai ("My decrees")

Torah: (Vayikra) Leviticus 25:1 – 26:2 & 26:3 – 27:34
Shabbat Chazak - The Shabbat when we finish one book of the Torah
Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19 – 17:14
In the evening count Omer 42


"You search the Scriptures because you think in them you have eternal life. It is these that bear witness of Me [Yeshua]"  John 5:39


"SHEMITTAH, the Sabbatical Year, and YOVEL, the Jubilee Year"

Vayikra 25: "And Yehovah spoke to Moshe on Mount Sinai, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, and say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a Shabbat for Yehovah. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in its fruit; but in the seventh year shall be a Shabbat of rest for the land, a Shabbat for Yehovah; you shall not sow your field, nor prune your vineyard. That which grows of its own accord of your harvest you shall not reap, nor gather the grapes of your vine; for it is a year of rest [SHEMITTAH] to the land.

And you shall count seven Shabbats of years to you, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven Shabbats of years shall be to you forty and nine years. Then shall you cause the shofar to sound a broken blast [teruah] on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the Day of Atonement shall you sound the shofar throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all the inhabitants of it; it shall be a jubilee [YOVEL] to you; and you shall return every man to his possession.’

Therefore you shall do My statutes, and keep My judgments, and do them; and you shall dwell in the land in safety. And the land shall yield her fruit, and you shall eat your fill, and dwell in it in safety. And if you shall say, ‘What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our produce;’ Then I will command My blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And you shall sow the eighth year, and eat still of old fruit until the ninth year; until its fruits come in you shall eat of the old store... The land shall not be sold forever; for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me. I am Yehovah.”

SHEMITTAH - the Sabbatical year, and YOVEL - the Jubilee year, teach that true joy of life comes when man stops striving for material gain in favor of spiritual growth. It teaches that the source of physical sustenance, as well as the spiritual one, is not the world but God. He is the provider of everything that man needs, physically and spiritually.

But man cannot totally separate from the world he lives in, that is why Shemittah is only once in seven years, just as is the Shabbat every seventh day. This infuses holiness and purpose into work-years and work-days. Just as the days of the week are days of preparation for Shabbat so, too, the six years preceding the Shemittah were lived in anticipation of God's blessing of an abundant crop. The comparison between Shemittah and the Shabbat is that both bear testimony of God’s creation and His blessings. God is the creator of the material world and He is the provider of everything man needs for his sustenance, therefore, He can cause an abundant crop to last for three years; if man would only obey His commandments, have faith and believe.

On the Yovel, the Jubilee Year - every fiftieth year - all property should have been returned to its ancestral heritage, to its original owner. But what is interesting is that God says in the same passage that all land is His. Therefore, the returning of property is symbolic of worshiping and serving God with all that He has given us, because man is but a stranger and a sojourner on this earth. God's people are to be detached from the earthly things because their allegiance is with God.

The Jubilee Year, the year of property release, should have been announced on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, with the blowing of the Shofar with the sound of teruah, the succession of nine tremulous sounds of alarm. But what we have to understand is that there are two different occasions when the sound of teruah is to be heard, on Rosh haShanah and on Yom Kippur.

The teruah of Rosh haShanah, as outlined in Chapter 23, is the yearly calling of Israel to repent and return to God. This teruah, in its prophetic fulfillment, represents the day described by the prophet Zechariah 12:10: “'In that day... I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced.' And they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. The teruah of Rosh haShanah is the day when all Israel will recognize Yeshua as their Messiah and will feel and express the deep sorrow for not recognizing Him for all these centuries and for missing out in having a close relationship and fellowship with Him. In that day Yeshua will show them His nail-driven hands and tell them: "Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands" - Isaiah 49:16.

But the teruah of Yovel is the fulfillment of the prophecy given by Zechariah further in chapter 13:1: In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity. God will announce through the Shofar blasts that Atonement has been made for all Israel and that they have been freed from sin and impurity - all Israel will be saved. God's people will become again a nation of priests, a light and a blessing to the world.

The blessings of the Jubilee Year, the fiftieth year after the counting of a succession of seven sabbatical years, alludes also to the blessings of the counting of the Omer for seven completes Shabbats with the fiftieth day as Shavuot. On Shavuot it was the crowning of God's commandments by the giving of the Torah and the infilling of believers by the Ruach haKodesh, the Holy Spirit.

Parashah "Behar" ends with an instruction that distills all other commandments into two basic principles: "You shall observe My Shabbats, and revere My Sanctuary; I am Yehovah" Vayikra 26:3. Observing the Shabbat and having reverence for His Sanctuary are the prerequisite of starting to live a holy life. The Shabbats are in the plural form because it is a reference not only to the weekly Shabbat but also to the other seven Holy Days previously enumerated in chapter 23. Reverence for the Sanctuary is not reverence for the building or the objects within it but for what they represent and ultimately for God.

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