Perashat Behukotay 5779
Perashat Behukotay 5779Friday, May 31, 2019
It was a record breaking week. 3 new world records were set, and no one could care less.
Yes, a woman held a plank for 4 hours and 20 minutes, and yes, a man who is definitely very unpopular at birthday parties popped 200 balloons with a nail in 14.77 seconds. But both of those Guinness Book of World Records pale in comparison to the earth-shattering news that for the first time, a man spun a cushion on his finger for 18 minutes and 14 seconds. Life will never be the same.
People train for these things. They work really hard to be recognized and seen. But in the end, what are they being recognized for? Yes they are the best, in the whole world, but at what?
The beginning of the perasha talks about blessings. The middle talks about curses. For most people that is life. We oscillate the chasing of the blessings our world has to offer, and then we move on to discuss the attempt to avoid life's difficulties and challenging moments.
Is that all there is to life? Chasing or dodging?
Our perasha draws to a close with a different message. We are taught the laws of Arachin, where someone says that they pledge their equivalent value to charity. Shockingly the value they pay is set, and it doesn't change based on wealth, fame or even health.
This seems to me to be a lesson that is shouting to be heard. Life is not about how easy or hard it is; nor is it about how famous you are. There are people who have very difficult circumstances that none of us have ever heard of that have great lives! Conversely, there are people who live in the lap of luxury, fame and blessing whose lives are in a shambles.
The value of life is life itself, of living life the best way you can and having the opportunity to make something beautiful of my efforts today that I can be proud of, even if no one ever finds out my name. In that regard the value of a person's Erech, life value, doesn't change from person to person. There is a flat rate, based broadly on the work a person, any person, of that age could do. In that way all people are valued the same. No person's life is worth more or less than anyone else's. What a beautiful way to view life. We live not to grab blessing or dodge extreme negativity, but to work as hard as we can on what is really important.
May God grant us the ability, courage and determination to create our own blessings!
Rabbi Shlomo Farhi
May 29 2020
Sivan 6 5780