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Parashah 33 BeChukotai

Leviticus 26:3 – 27:34

By Dr. K. Blad  ©

Second edition 2013-14

Lucrative copying not permitted. 


Torah Readings:

1.      26:3-5

2.      26:6-9

3.      26:10-46

4.      27:1-15

5.      27:16-21

6.      27:22-28

7.      27:29-34

8.      Maftir: 27:32-34

Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14

Be Chukotai

means “in my statutes”


The First Aliyah, 26:3-5

26:3 “If you walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them”(HNV revised) – The Hebrew word that is translated as “my statutes” is chukotai. As we have said earlier, commandments called chuk do not have any logical or understandable explanations. These are the commandments that are the hardest for man to accept and keep. Not only does it take effort to fulfill them, but they are also difficult to obey since the  natural mind resists them. Since the natural mind has a hard time understanding the reasons for fulfilling a chuk, it tends to scorn it, see verses 15 and 43. A mind that has not been transformed by the Torah will not help a man to keep the commandments called chukim. Chukim are commandments that lift man spiritually the most, since they require obedience without logic. Since there is no support to be had from the natural mind, one is forced up onto a higher spiritual level. Obedience to a chuk has to do with the father-child relationship. The child does not understand why his father gives orders about a certain thing, but he obeys anyway, simply because his father has said it, not because there is a reason for why he should do this or that. Our obedience to chuk-commandments create a deep relationship of obedience in a spiritual realm of love. Even though we do not understand, we obey, simply because Dad has told us to. This is why the chuk-commandments lift us up above the natural, the logical, that which is obvious according to human reasoning, and it takes us up to a spiritual height of deep relationship and revelation from our Father. The chuk-commandments are intimately connected with the Messiah. That is why they are so important.

Beyond the resistance in our bodies and minds against fulfilling a chuk, we will also meet resistance from those who are enemies of the Torah. Since they cannot understand the reasons for these statutes, they mock us and our Father who gave us the Torah to fulfill.

Therefore, the temptation not to fulfill the chuk-commandments will be the most difficult to resist. That is why this text mentions these types of commandments first. If we walk in HaShem’s chuk-commandments and keep the other commandments, not only study them, talk about them, or think about how to fulfill them, but really make them a daily pattern in our lives, THEN we will receive all the blessings that are included in the covenant.

This verse begins with one of the most important words in the Scriptures: “if”, in Hebrew im. This word gives man the power to choose. When the Torah was given, man ceased being enslaved. Now he is free. He is free to choose between blessing and cursing. He has the power in his mouth and in his hands to choose between life and death. The people of Israel received that power through the Sinai covenant.

This teaches us that each one of us has the capacity in our mouths and in our hands to change our lives. However, this power does not come from us, it is HaShem who has given it to us. By giving the Torah and the covenants to the children of Israel, he has given us the power to steer our lives and the lives of our children. Through the Messiah, the gentiles can come into the heavenly Israel and partake of these same privileges. We can therefore choose what we want our future to look like.

We might find ourselves in a miserable situation on account of our sins, or the sins of our forefathers, parents, or nation. But, HaShem has given us the power to change the future of our lives and of our nation. How is this power manifested? Through one word: “if”. If we obey the statutes and the rest of the commandments, then our own future and the future of our nation will be changed. The obedience or disobedience of one single individual can change the future of an entire people. The power to change your nation is in your hands. How? By your obedience to the commandments. Do you want to improve your life? Obey the commandments that apply to you. Do you want to change your nation? Keep the chukot. If everyone else sins, you still do not have the right to sin. If everyone else breaks the Torah, it does not give you reason to break the Torah. You can go against the grain and be different, be consecrated, be salt and a light. That is your calling. If you want to be obedient, HaShem will help you to remain faithful in the midst of a perverse and evil generation. The power is in your mouth and in your hands. Use it!

The Hebrew word im begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the letter alef. The last letter of this text about the blessings, in verse 13, is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the letter tav. So, these verses contain a summary of the entire Scriptures, from beginning to end, from alef to tav. What is their message? If you are faithful, you will be blessed in every way. Obedience brings blessings. Disobedience brings curses over the individual, the family, and the nation. Do you want to be blessed with riches, peace, and the presence of HaShem, as promised in these verses? That will not happen because you study the Torah. Neither will it come if you pray unceasingly. Neither is it by giving money to the poor or to HaShem’s work that these blessings come. It is not through worship or other offerings. It is through obedience. Obedience is better than sacrifice, as it is written in 1 Samuel 15:22

“Shemu'el said, has HaShem as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of HaShem? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.”(HNV revised)

Obedience to Moshe’s Torah is the road to blessings. The way to prosper is by obeying the commandments found in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, as it is written in Joshua 1:7-8,

“Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moshe my servant commanded you: don’t turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Torah scroll shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate thereon day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.”(HNV revised)

Some might say, “It is impossible to obey all the commandments”, “HaShem did not give the Torah in order for it to be fulfilled, because it is impossible for man to do it”.

Then let us ask this question: Why would the heavenly Father give man a Torah that he could never fulfill? Does not the Torah itself say that the commandments are not too hard, as it is written in Deuteronomy 30:11-16,

“For this commandment which I command you this day, it is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? But the word is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it. Behold, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command you this day to love HaShem your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, that you may live and multiply, and that HaShem your God may bless you in the land where you go in to possess it.”(HNV revised)

If it was impossible to fulfill the Torah, how could David say of himself that he was righteous, as it is written in 2 Samuel 22:21-25,

“HaShem rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands has he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of HaShem, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his ordinances were before me; as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also perfect toward him; I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore has HaShem recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his eyesight.”(HNV revised)

If it was impossible to fulfill the Torah, how is it that Yochanan ben Zecharyah’s parents were able to, as it is written in Luke 1:6,

“They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.”(HNV revised)

Someone else might say, “The Torah is only for the Jewish people, not for the gentiles.” It is true that not all the Torah is for the gentiles. But an important part of it is also for the gentiles (comp. 1 Tim 3:16).

If the Torah only were for the Jews, then there would be no sin among the gentiles. Since sin is breaking of the Torah, it means that where there is no Torah, there is no sin, see 1 John 3:4; 1 Corinthians 15:56; 1 Timothy 1:8-11. If the Torah is not for the gentiles, then the gentiles have no sin. And, if the gentiles have no sin, then they do not need to be saved and that would mean that the Messiah died in vain for them!

26:4 “then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.”(HNV) – The first result of obedience is that rain will fall from heaven at the right time. Rain is very important to the land of Israel. If there is no rain then there is no food, and without food there will be starvation and death. Therefore rain is a crucial blessing for all life in the land of Israel.

 Here it is talking about rain in the right season. There are two main seasons of rain in Israel; during the autumn and during the spring. The autumn rain falls in Tishri and Cheshvan, and the spring rain comes in Nisan. The autumn rain is the hardest and it prepares the ground for planting. The spring rain is less powerful, but it is more important because it helps the crops to ripen. These two rains are the most important to HaShem’s land, as it is written in Deuteronomy 11:14,

“that I will give the rain of your land in its season, the former (autumn) rain and the latter (spring) rain, that you may gather in your grain, and your new wine, and your oil.”(HNV)

In Joel 2:23, it is written,

“Be glad then, you children of Tziyon, and rejoice in HaShem, your God; for he gives you the former rain in just measure, and he causes the rain to come down for you, the former rain and the latter rain, as before.”(HNV revised)

In James 5:7, it is written,

“Be patient therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receives the early and late rain.”(HNV revised)

The Second Aliyah, 26:6-9

26:6 “I will give shalom in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one will make you afraid; and I will remove evil animals out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.”(HNV) – Safety, see verse 5, and peace are results of obedience to the commandments. When the commandments are not obeyed, there is no safety and there is no peace, as it is written in 1 Thessalonians 5:3,

“For when they are saying, ‘Shalom and safety,’ then sudden destruction will come on them, like birth pains on a pregnant woman; and they will in no way escape.”(HNV)

It is not the political peace treaties that bring peace and safety on earth, but it comes through obedience to the commandments that are written in the books of Moshe, first and foremost for the Jewish people, but for the gentiles as well.

26:9 “I will have respect for you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and will establish my covenant with you.”(HNV) – According to Rashi, this is referring to the new covenant that HaShem would establish and that will never be abolished, as it is written in Jeremiah 31:31-34,

“Behold, the days come, says HaShem, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Yisra'el, and with the house of Yehudah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was a husband to them, says HaShem. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Yisra'el after those days, says HaShem: I will put my Torah in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people: and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know HaShem; for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says HaShem: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.”(HNV revised)

The Third Aliyah, 26:10-46

26:11 “I will set my tent among you: and my soul won’t abhor you.”(HNV) – The dwelling that this is referring to is the temple, since the tabernacle was already among them. It is also a reference to the body of Yeshua the Messiah, which is HaShem’s dwelling place, as it is written in John 1:14,

“The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.”(HNV)

The third thing that this is referring to is the new Yerushalayim that will come down to the earth after the Messianic reign, as it is written in Revelation 21:1-4,

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more. I saw the sanctified city, New Yerushalayim, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, ‘Behold, God’s dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away from them every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away.’”(HNV revised)

“my soul won’t abhor you” – When HaShem’s soul abhors the people, it means that they will be driven out of the land.

26:12 “I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you will be my people.”(HNV revised) – The greatest blessing possible, is having God’s presence in our midst. This text teaches us that God’s presence is manifested when we obey the commandments.

The presence of Yeshua the Messiah on the earth is the expression of the Father among man. Therefore, when he was walking among the people, HaShem was walking among them in his ambassador, as it is written in Isaiah 7:14,

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin will conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanu'el.”(HNV)

In Matthew 1:22-23, it is written,

“Now all this has happened, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son. They shall call his name Immanu'el;’ which is, being interpreted, ‘God with us.’”(HNV revised)

In John 14:9b-11, it is written,

“He who has seen me has seen the Father. How do you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I tell you, I speak not from myself; but the Father who lives in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works’ sake.”(HNV)

26:14-15 “But if you will not listen to me, and will not do all these commandments; and if you shall reject my statutes (chukotai), and if your soul abhors my ordinances, so that you will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant”(HNV revised) – This text is talking about the consequences of disobedience to the covenant. Since there is a covenant between HaShem and Israel, there are conditions and consequences in order for them to be able to dwell together. The condition for being able to remain in the covenant and to partake of its privileges is obedience to the commandments. The consequence of obedience is blessing, and the consequence for disobedience is curse.

There are altogether forty-nine calamities mentioned in this chapter; seven times seven. The text is written so that it can easily be divided into seven parts, each part containing seven calamities, see verses 16-17; 19-20; 22; 25-26; 29-31; 32-33; 36-39.

 According to a Midrash[1] quoted by Rashi, there are seven steps to apostasy in verses 14-15 that bring seven corrections each. The seven steps are:

1.      You do not listen to me – Not studying the Torah.

2.      You do not do all these commandments – Not obeying the commandments.

3.      You reject my statutes – Rejecting those who obey.

4.      Your soul abhors my ordinances – Hating those who are learned in the Torah.

5.      So that you do not do – Trying to convince others not to fulfill the Torah.

6.      All my commandments – Denying that God gave the commandments.

7.      Break my covenant – Denying God’s existence.

26:16 “I also will do this to you: I will appoint terror over you, even consumption and fever, that shall consume the eyes, and make the soul to pine away; and you will sow your seed in vain, for your enemies will eat it.”(HNV) – According to Rashi, consumption is a sickness that consumes the flesh after it has swelled.

26:18 “If you in spite of these things will not listen to me, then I will chastise you seven times more for your sins.”(HNV) – The Hebrew word that is translated as “chastise” is yasar,[2] which means “rebuke”, “correct”, “chastise”, “discipline”, “suffer”. This text teaches us that HaShem sends this suffering in order to bring about teshuvah, repentance, in the people so that they will obey. This is the same reason that a father corrects his children, training them to behave properly, as it is written in Hebrews 12:5-11,

“and you have forgotten the exhortation which reasons with you as with children, ‘My son, don’t take lightly the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives.’ It is for discipline that you endure. God deals with you as with children, for what son is there whom his father doesn’t discipline? But if you are without discipline, whereof all have been made partakers, then are you illegitimate, and not children. Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? For they indeed, for a few days, punished us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his sacredness. All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised thereby.”(HNV revised)

HaShem’s reason for sending these curses, which are the consequences of disobedience, is to correct the people’s way of life.

“I will chastise you seven times more for your sins” – Since there were seven sins that led to apostasy, there are seven harsh rebukes.

26:23 “If by these things you won’t be reformed to me, but will walk contrary to me”(HNV) – The same word yasar that is in verse 18, is found in this verse as well. Here it is translated as “be reformed”. The same word is also found in verse 28. This teaches us that the purpose for these curses is not to punish, condemn, or reject those of HaShem’s people who are disobedient, but to correct them so that they repent of their evil ways, turn to their heavenly Father, and obey the Torah.

26:24 “then I will also walk contrary to you; and I will strike you, even I, seven times for your sins.”(HNV) – The Father in heaven increases the pressure of the rebukes more and more for as long as the people continue in sin. This is a good example for parents who have rebellious children. If the rebellion in a child is not broken, then the discipline must be increased until the child humbles himself. The sooner this is done is a child’s life, the easier it is to bridle his rebellion. The way that HaShem disciplines his children is the way that we discipline our children.

26:25a “I will bring a sword upon you, that will execute the vengeance of the covenant”(HNV) – All these calamities have come over the children of Israel for the very reason of this covenant. To be privileged also means heaving great responsibility. To whom much has been given, much is required, as it is written in Romans 2:9-11,

“oppression and anguish, on every soul of man who works evil, on the Jew first, and also on the Greek. But glory and honor and shalom to every man who works good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.”(HNV revised)

26:28 “then I will walk contrary to you in wrath; and I also will chastise you seven times for your sins.”(HNV) – The expression “seven times” occurs four times in this chapter. If we multiply seven times four, we get twenty-eight. This hints to us that all or a part of the people of Israel would suffer exile, being oppressed by the gentile nations, for twenty-eight centuries. The first invasion, which brought about the exile of two and a half tribes, Reuven, Gad, and half of Menasheh, occurred in 733-732 BCE.[3] It was led by the Assyrian king, Tilgat-Pileser, see 1 Chronicles 5:26. This teaches us that the people of Israel have been suffering exile for twenty-eight centuries, counting from that time until today.

26:31 “I will lay your cities waste, and will bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I will not take delight in the sweet fragrance of your offerings.”(HNV) – This is a reference to the destruction of both temples as well as other consecrated places, such as synagogues and houses of study. The concept of the destruction of the temple does not occur for the first time in the books of the prophets, but right here, in the Torah of Moshe, as a small seed, see Hosea 8:1; Micah 3:12; Isaiah 64:10-11; Jeremiah 26:18; 30:18; Daniel 9:26. The prophets do not introduce any new foundational ideas, but they develop concepts that are already found in the Torah. Some of them are hidden.

26:33 “I will scatter you among the nations, and I will draw out the sword after you: and your land will be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste.”(HNV) – Here the Torah foretells the people’s exile. Exile is a result of disobedience to the commandments, especially the commandments concerning the Shabbat Years and idolatry.

26:40-41 “If they confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, in their trespass which they trespassed against me, and also that, because they walked contrary to me, I also walked contrary to them, and brought them into the land of their enemies: if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled, and they then accept the punishment of their iniquity”(HNV) – In order for a complete restoration to take place among the people of Israel, they must repent and confess, not only their own sins, but also the sins of their forefathers, as it is written in Daniel 9:1-19,

“In the first year of Daryavesh the son of Achashverosh, of the seed of the Madai, who was made king over the realm of the Kasdim, in the first year of his reign I, Daniyel, understood by the books the number of the years whereof the word of HaShem came to Yirmeyahu the prophet, for the accomplishing of the desolations of Yerushalayim, even seventy years. I set my face to the Lord God, to seek by prayer and petitions, with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to HaShem my God, and made confession, and said, Oh, Lord, the great and dreadful God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned, and have dealt perversely, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even turning aside from your precepts and from your ordinances; neither have we listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. Lord, righteousness belongs to you, but to us confusion of face, as at this day; to the men of Yehudah, and to the inhabitants of Yerushalayim, and to all Yisra'el, who are near, and who are far off, through all the countries where you have driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against you. Lord, to us belongs confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness; for we have rebelled against him; neither have we obeyed the voice of HaShem our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. Yes, all Yisra'el have transgressed your law, even turning aside, that they should not obey your voice: therefore has the curse been poured out on us, and the oath that is written in the Torah of Moshe the servant of God; for we have sinned against him.

He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us, and against our judges who judged us, by bringing on us a great evil; for under the whole sky has not been done as has been done on Yerushalayim. As it is written in the Torah of Moshe, all this evil is come on us: yet have we not entreated the favor of HaShem our God, that we should turn from our iniquities, and have discernment in your truth. Therefore has HaShem watched over the evil, and brought it on us; for HaShem our God is righteous in all his works which he does, and we have not obeyed his voice. Now, Lord our God, who has brought your people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have gotten you renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. Lord, according to all your righteousness, let your anger and please let your wrath be turned away from your city Yerushalayim, your consecrated mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Yerushalayim and your people are become a reproach to all who are round about us. Now therefore, our God, listen to the prayer of your servant, and to his petitions, and cause your face to shine on your sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. My God, turn your ear, and hear; open your eyes, and see our desolations, and the city which is called by your name: for we do not present our petitions before you for our righteousness, but for your great mercies’ sake. Lord, hear; Lord, forgive; Lord, listen and do; don’t defer, for your own sake, my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”(HNV revised)

The prophet Daniel read in the book of the prophet Yirmeyahu that the Babylonian exile would last for seventy years. Therefore he clung to the promise that is found in Leviticus 26:40-45, and confessed his own sins, the sins of his parents, and the sins of the people. Nechemyah did the same thing, as it is written in Nehemiah 1:5-

“and said, I beg you, HaShem, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness with those who love him and keep his commandments: Let your ear now be attentive, and your eyes open, that you may listen to the prayer of your servant, which I pray before you at this time, day and night, for the children of Yisra'el your servants while I confess the sins of the children of Yisra'el, which we have sinned against you. Yes, I and my father’s house have sinned”(HNV revised

If the righteous men of that generation, who brought about the return of 10% of the Jewish population to the land and their restoration from the Babylonian exile, needed to confess in this manner, how much more do we need to confess our sins and the sins of our parents now in this last generation in order for the final restoration to come for all the children of Israel, so that they can return to the land of our fathers?

“if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled, and they then accept the punishment of their iniquity” – This is the first time that the concept of an uncircumcised heart is mentioned. The context tells us that an uncircumcised heart is the heart of a person who has not been living in obedience to the covenant. It also tells us that it is a heart that has not humbled itself. To be uncircumcised of heart also means to be insensitive to heavenly impressions, which is an inability to love HaShem in return. We also learn that an uncircumcised heart does not want to obey the Torah. Therefore, a circumcised heart is a heart of a person who lives in obedience to the covenant. It is a humble and submissive heart. It is a heart that is sensitive to impressions of the Spirit and which loves HaShem in return. It is also a heart that is willing to obey the Torah.

26:42 “then I will remember my covenant with Ya`akov; and also my covenant with Yitzchak, and also my covenant with Avraham; and I will remember the land.”(HNV) – The covenant with the three patriarchs is the basis for HaShem’s dealings with their descendants.

26:44 “Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them; for I am HaShem their God”(HNV revised) – Here we can see that HaShem cannot break the covenant that he entered into with the forefathers, no matter how disobedient the children of Israel are. Even though many of them have broken the covenant, He has been faithful and will not break the covenant.

26:45 “but I will for their sake remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am HaShem.”(HNV revised) – When the children of Israel find themselves in the land of their enemies, HaShem has promised to remember the covenant that was established when they came out of Egypt.

This text teaches us that all of these calamities would come over the children of Israel because they did not obey the commandments. These were the conditions and consequences that were determined in the contract that was made between HaShem and the people. But the contract does not end there. There is a paragraph, which talks about restoration after all the rebuke. This paragraph is also a part of the promises of the covenant. HaShem has fulfilled his part of the covenant and driven the children of Israel out of the land because of their disobedience. He will also fulfill his part of the contract, which says that he will restore them again. In Deuteronomy 30, there are several details about how this restoration will take place, as it is written in verses 1-10,

“It shall happen, when all these things are come on you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, where HaShem your God has driven you, and shall return to HaShem your God, and shall obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul; that then HaShem your God will turn your captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples, where HaShem your God has scattered you. If any of your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of the heavens, from there will HaShem your God gather you, and from there will he bring you back: and HaShem your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and he will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers. HaShem your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love HaShem your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live. HaShem your God will put all these curses on your enemies, and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. You shall return and obey the voice of HaShem, and do all his commandments which I command you this day. HaShem your God will make you plenteous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your ground, for good: for HaShem will again rejoice over you for good, as he rejoiced over your fathers; if you shall obey the voice of HaShem your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the Torah; if you turn to HaShem your God with all your heart, and with all your soul.”(HNV revised)

If HaShem has fulfilled the first part of the covenant, is he then going to break the last part of it? Absolutely not!

Those who teach that the covenant between HaShem and Israel has been broken, or is only past history, or has been replaced by a new covenant, do not know the faithfulness of He who promises and keeps that which he has promised. So far he has fulfilled everything that he has promised up to this point, and he will fulfill the rest as well. Amen ve-amen!

If the children of Israel were cursed with these things because they had a scornful attitude toward the commandments in Moshe’s Torah, how can those who claim the blessings of the Scriptures in the name of the Messiah be blessed if they continue in a scornful attitude toward the 613 commandments? There is no blessing without obedience to the commandments! The Messiah did not come to deliver us from the Torah, but from the curse of the Torah, as it is written in Galatians 3:13,

“Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the Torah, having become a curse for us. For it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,’”(HNV revised)

The curse of the Torah is the curse that comes upon anyone who does not obey its commandments. In order for the Messiah to deliver man from the curse that the Torah has declared over those who are disobedient, he must take our curse upon himself. But it does not end there. In order for the blessings to come over us, we must change our hearts to make them obedient to the commandments. By repenting of disobedience so that we are set free from the curse of the Torah, we receive the blessings of the Torah through the obedience that the Messiah creates in us, as it is written in Romans 1:5,

“through whom we received grace and apostleship, for obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name’s sake”(HNV)

In Romans 6:17-18, it is written,

“But thanks be to God, that, whereas you were bondservants of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching (Torah) whereunto you were delivered. Being made free from sin (breaking the Torah), you became bondservants of righteousness (as expressed in the Torah).”(HNV revised)

In Ezekiel 36:26-27, it is written,

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my ordinances, and do them.”(HNV)

In Romans 16:25-27, it is written,

“Now to him who is able to make you strong in agreement with the good news which I gave you and the preaching of Yeshua the Messiah, in the light of the revelation of that secret which has been kept through times eternal, but is now made clear; and by the writings of the prophets, by the order of the eternal God, the knowledge of it has been given to all the nations, so that they may come under the rule of the faith; to the only wise God, through Yeshua the Messiah, be the glory for ever. So be it.”(BBE revised)

The Fourth Aliyah, 27:1-15

27:2 “Speak to the children of Yisra'el, and say to them, ‘When a man makes a vow, the persons shall be for HaShem by your valuation.’”(HNV revised) – After a long chapter describing the calamities that would come over the children of Israel on account of their rejection of the commandments come the instructions about blessings. When the children of Israel were in difficult situations, many of them would desire to make promises of dedication to HaShem. It is easier to be dedicated to HaShem when things are hard then it is when all is well. Man has a tendency to forget HaShem when the stomach is full, but when sickness and poverty come, he will cry out to heaven and make promises. This chapter outlines certain rules concerning the promises that a person may make at certain points of his life, ranging from promises to give money, which represent the value of a soul, to promises concerning giving houses.

Instead of giving one’s soul, which is not material, one can give money, which symbolizes the value of a soul. But, as we said earlier, the value of a man’s soul is too high to be redeemed so that it will never see death, see Psalm 49:8-9. This is, therefore, a question of a symbolic price that the Torah puts on a person’s soul. If a person wants to give his life to the temple, he can give money which would represent his soul. A Midrash[4] says, “If you give the value of a soul, I consider it to be as if you had offered it.”

27:3-4 “Your valuation shall be of a male from twenty years old even to sixty years old, even your valuation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. If it is a female, then your valuation shall be thirty shekels.”(HNV) – The value that is determined here has nothing to do with the price that would be charged for a person if they were sold at a slave market. This is a question of a fixed price that the Torah establishes according to gender and age. Neither ought we to understand this as meaning that some people are more valuable than others, or that men are worth more than women.

In order for a person to be able to give money that would represent his soul, he must do it in accordance with his ability to generate material possessions. Those who have more physical strength have greater ability to produce riches through physical labor. A man between the ages of twenty and sixty must therefore pay more than anyone else, since that is the age in which he has the highest capability to produce money through physical labor. A woman of the same age does not normally have the same physical capabilities. The Torah, therefore, does not require as much of her, so that she will not feel inferior to the man if she is not able to reach the same level of productivity. The Torah accepts offerings according to the ability of each person, as it is written in 2 Corinthians 8:12,

“For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what you have, not according to what you don’t have.”(HNV)

This text also teaches that when it concerns the value of a soul, a poor man is not considered less than a rich man, but all who are within a certain age group and are of the same gender are valued the same. If someone, who is poor, wishes to give money according to the value of his soul, he can do so for a smaller sum, according to the discernment of the priest, and in such a case HaShem considers him to have given the full sum, see verse 8.

According to Rambam,[5] all the money that was given as the value of a soul was used to repair the temple.

27:5 “If the person is from five years old even to twenty years old, then your valuation shall be for a male twenty shekels, and for a female ten shekels.”(HNV) – A five year old child cannot make a promise about giving money to the temple according to the value of his soul. These values are fixed so that an adult will be able to give for the soul of a child. The same thing applies to children between the ages of one month and five years.

Age Group



1 month – 5 years old

5 shekels

3 shekels

5 – 20 years old

20 shekels

10 shekels

20 – 60 years old

50 shekels

30 shekels

60 years old or older

15 shekels

10 shekels

If a soul could be replaced by money, then Yiftach could have given money instead of his daughter after he made the mistake of giving an improper promise to HaShem, see Judges 11. Since he did not know the Torah well, he destroyed a human life unnecessarily. Wise men discuss whether he ought to have been forced, or not, to give the price that represented his daughter’s soul. Since he made a promise that was contrary to the Torah, it could have been nullified without him even have having to pay the sum that represented her soul.

27:12 “and the priest shall value it, whether it is good or bad. As you the priest values it, so shall it be.”(HNV revised) – This text teaches us that VaYikra, Leviticus, was written mainly for the priests. For that reason this book is also called Torat Kohanim, “the Torah of the priests”.

The Fifth Aliyah, 27:16-21

27:21 “but the field, when it goes out in the Jubilee, shall be consecrated to HaShem, as a field devoted; it shall be owned by the priests.”(HNV revised) – Things that were consecrated to HaShem were given to the temple or to the priests.

The Sixth Aliyah, 27:22-28

27:28 “Notwithstanding, no devoted thing, that a man shall devote to HaShem of all that he has, whether of man or animal, or of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most consecrated to HaShem.”(HNV revised) – HaShem values highly the people and things that have been consecrated to Him, when it comes from a dedicated heart. Therefore they are elevated to the highest level of consecration and can only be used by the priests, see 1 Samuel 1:24-28.

The Seventh Aliyah, 27:29-34

27:30 “All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is HaShem’s. It is consecrated to HaShem.”(HNV revised) – This is the first time that tithing is mentioned as a direct commandment. The principle of tithing, however, has been in place since creation, when man was not allowed to eat of all the trees that he cultivated. Part of the work could not be eaten but was given to HaShem. This text shows us that the tithe belong to HaShem. Man does not give tithe as an offering, but he is simply giving HaShem what belongs to Him. This text teaches us that a tithe of everything that the earth produces belongs to HaShem. That does not mean that one must give a tithe of everything that is on the ground, but only of everything that one harvests from the ground or from the trees. The tithe is given from that which is taken home to the storehouse.

27:32 “All the tithe of the herds or the flocks, whatever passes under the rod, the tenth shall be consecrated to HaShem.”(HNV revised) – Tithe is also given from the herds. A tithe of the animals was consecrated once a year in order to be taken to Yerushalayim and be offered on the altar. Only the blood and the parts that were needed for the offering were given; the rest of the meat was eaten by the owner and his family.

These two types of nutrition, the fruit of the ground and the produce of animals, represents all that man has labored to acquire. Therefore tithe ought to be given to HaShem of everything that one earns, as it is written in Luke 18:12b,

“I give tithes of all that I get.”(HNV)

In Matthew 23:23, it is written,

“Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith. But you ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone.”(HNV revised)

Yeshua teaches that one ought to give a tithe even of the herbs that are not produced in great quantities.

This Parashah contains commandments number 350-361 of the 613 commandments.

  1. The command that one who has made a promise to give the value of his soul ought to give the fixed sum, Leviticus 27:2.

  2. The prohibition of trading animals that are appointed for sacrifice, Leviticus 27:10.

  3. The command that both animals are consecrated if an animal that is appointed for sacrifice is traded for another, Leviticus 27:10.

  4. The command that one who has made a promise to give the value of an animal ought to give the sum determined by the priest, Leviticus 27:11-12.

  5. The command that one who has made a promise to give the value of his house ought to give the sum determined by the priest plus one fifth, if he wishes to redeem it, Leviticus 27:14.

  6. The command that one who has made a promise to give the value of a piece of land ought to give the sum determined by the priest, Leviticus 27:16.

  7. The prohibition of trading animals that are consecrated from one offering to another, Leviticus 27:26.

  8. The command that whatever is declared cherem (a forbidden possession) ought to be given to the priest, Leviticus 27:28.

  9. The prohibition of selling a piece of land that has been declared cherem, it must be given to the priest, Leviticus 27:28.

  10. The prohibition of redeeming a piece of land that has been declared cherem, Leviticus 27:28.

  11. The command to give a tithe of acceptable domestic animals every year, Leviticus 27:32.

  12. The prohibition of selling the tithe of the acceptable domestic animals, they must be eaten in Yerushalayim, Leviticus 27:33.

[1]     Torat Kohanim 26:18.

[2]     Strong H3256 yâsar, yaw-sar', A primitive root; to chastise, literally (with blows) or figuratively (with words); hence to instruct: - bind, chasten, chastise, correct, instruct, punish, reform, reprove, sore, teach.

[3]     Encyclopaedia Judaica.

[4]     Tanchumá BeChukotai 10.

[5]     Halachot Herchin 1:10.