This Weeks Haftorah
Rabbi Levi Langer

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Haftorah Bechukosai

"Hashem is my Might and my Stronghold, my refuge in time of distress. Unto You shall nations come from the ends of the earth, and they will say, 'Only falsehoods have our forefathers bequeathed us, vanity in which there is no avail.'" (Jeremiah 16:19)

Long ago--so it is taught in the Midrash--Hashem offered His Torah to the peoples of the world.

The descendents of Esau asked, "What is written there?" They were informed that the Torah prohibits thievery. Thereupon they summarily turned it down, saying, "Our lives are built upon theivery!"

The people of Yishmael asked, "What is written there?" Hashem answered that adultery is prohibited. Upon hearing this, they refused the Torah. They said, "Our culture is founded upon incest and adultery."

Then Hashem offered the Torah to the Jews, and they immediately said, "We will do and we will hear!"

Writes Nachal Sorek: Generations ago the nations of the world rejected the Torah, because its dictates were contrary to their lifestyles and their ideals. They could not even entertain the notion of giving up these ideals.

But someday the nations will see for themselves how mistaken they were. Then they will return to Hashem, crying, "Only falsehoods have our forefathers bequeathed us!"

So if we see that the world around us is caught up in today's cultural icon, we mustn't be overly impressed. For we take a longer view. And we look ahead to the day when all the world will accept upon themselves a lifestyle which embodies the enduring values of the Torah.

Copyright (c) 1997 by Rabbi Levi Langer

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