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D’var Torah - Behar

From our Hebrew School Director Liora Ramati

This week after more than a decade I received a letter from Immigration that they finally have started to process my brother application request for citizenship. I remember, on one hot summer day, at the Ben Gurion airport with my family, many years go going, saying my goodbyes which back then I never imagined my departure will carry for so many years. My brother was right after his army service looked at me and asked me to promise come back, as if he knew the future. I never went back but I have him, my parents, my friends and Klal Israel in my heart, in my talk and my actions every day.


This week Torah portion is Behar, on the mountain (of Mt. Sinai). It Is the name of the location where G-d gave more laws to Moses. This Torah portion talks about counting time for the Sabbatical year, the seventh year of rest and the fifty year of jubilee, a rest for the land, a restart. all the laws regarding counting time are important but its also very important the location where they are supposed to take place: The land of Israel. I can’t believe that this summer will be 25 years since I left and lived outside of Israel.


Thinking about my brother made me notice the word brother in this Torah portion, it repeats many time: Ahch אח. One of the verses is #14:

 ידוְכִֽי־תִמְכְּר֤וּ מִמְכָּר֙ לַֽעֲמִיתֶ֔ךָ א֥וֹ קָנֹ֖ה מִיַּ֣ד עֲמִיתֶ֑ךָ אַל־תּוֹנ֖וּ אִ֥ישׁ אֶת־אָחִֽיו:

14And when you make a sale to your fellow Jew or make a purchase from the hand of your fellow Jew, you shall not wrong one another.


Through the entire portion the word אח (brother) is mentioned. And also the word עמית (fellow, friend).  when we read the word Achiv it really means a friend or a fellow jew.

The word Ach creates the word Ahvah

אחווה – brotherhood/sisterhood

עמית (עם) – from the word people – we are one. One big family since we refer to Abraham as our dad and Sara as our mom. אברהם אבינו ושרה אימנו

The portion also discusses Onahat Devarim: הונאת דברים – deception – we should behave well between ourselves. After all G-d is sending us an important message that we are all bothers. He then lets us know that the time we chose to help one another is also very important, earlier than later is better.


The command: “Don’t do wrong to one another” is repeated twice in this portion.25:14 and 17. Think about it since it repeats it is probably important. Then comes another important verse:


 (ויקרא כה, לה): “וכי ימוך אחיך עמך והחזקת בו גר ותושב וחי עמך”.

החזקת בו – see it before the person falls – before he reaches the bear bottom.

אל תניחהו שירד ויפול ויהיה קשה להקימו אלא חזקהו משעת מוטת היד למה זה דומה למשאוי שעל החמור עודהו על החמור אחד תופס בו ומעמידו נפל לארץ חמשה אין מעמידין אותו

The story of the donkey carrying the heavy load is a great example that while the load is up it is enough for one person just to give it support because if not once it falls it is too much work to pick up everything even for 5 people.


We then go deeper to the idea of responsibility between one another.  One of the examples is:

Verse 48 – פקדון שבויים – the obligation of redeeming a relative from bondage. We are told that we ought Even to sell Torah scrolls to redeem hostages.


Rashi’s question


Rashi offers a very human, compassionate approach, asking if it’s even possible that a Jew would not provide assistance to help out someone in dire need? In other words, is it possible that a Jew facing a difficult situation may find himself alone?

Rashi, in his role the greatest of all Torah commentators, could not fathom the idea of the Jewish Nation being incapable of caring for one another, that trait must be a dominant factor in our very existence. the unity and “coming together” that have defined the world-wide Jewish Nation since October 7 have provided an answer to Rashi’s question (“Is it possible…)”. It is almost as if it is part of our DNA. 

We need to stick together. This is our mutual guarantee: “All of Israel are responsible for each other.”  It leads us to join together in time of need. In the words of Maimonides: הרמבם


ל ישראל והנלווה אליהם – כאחים הם, שנאמר “בָּנִים אַתֶּם לַה’ אֱ- (דברים יד, א ואם לא ירחם האח על אחיו, מי ירחם עליו? ולמי עניי

All of Israel and those accompanying them – as brothers they are, it is said, “You are sons of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 14:1). And if the brother does not have mercy on his brother, who will have mercy on him? We can only depend on our brothers.


Its our Jewish duty to be there for one another, emotionally, support financially and help physically. There is a Chassidic saying supporting the idea of unity: No individual is a complete entity unto himself. Only by joining with another can a person become whole.

Shabbat Shalom and Lag B’Omer Sameach!


Beth Moshe Congregation is filled with generations of South Florida families with roots and traditional values. 

2225 NE 121 Street, North Miami, Florida 33181

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305 891 5508