Wednesday, May 25, 2011


If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My shall eat your fill of bread and dwell securely in your land.”(Lev.26:3-5)

This segment of the Torah ostensibly contains one of the most obvious expressions of the doctrine of reward and punishment in Judaism.The modern mind is skeptical about the accuracy of this doctrine if understood literally. How do we resolve the dilemma of the righteous suffering and those who don't follow God's laws, prospering? Some gain clarity from the view of faith and the assumption that all outcomes are unknown by the mortal mind .Others see this as a collective assurance that when a community lives morally it will prosper even though some individuals may be subject to suffering in the process. Or we can understand these passages as reflecting an historic time when Israel was in its childhood and like children they needed this type of conditional reasoning and understanding in order to withstand the possibilities of straying from God's path.

From a spiritual-psychological point of view I offer another way of understanding this passage.Security comes from within.The Torah suggests that if we have the capacity to “eat our bread” -לשבע- to our fill, with an ability to feel grateful for what we have, this grateful heart will result in the feeling of dwelling securely in the peacefulness and fullness of mind and heart pulsating with thankfulness for out gift of food. Gratitude engenders faith and the assurance that one can dwell securely and safely without fears of not having and without feelings of debilitating insecurity and anxiety about the future.Sensing deeply the gift of all of life, we can take the strength and faith of living our lives anchored in a trust in the world's goodness and the compassion of a God whose gifts we are bidden to enjoy.

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