Giving to the Giver by David Berger


At the end of this week’s Parashah, the Torah discusses a Mitzvah that seems to be out of place. After the Tochachah, the Divine rebuke, Bnei Yisrael are instructed in the laws of Arachin – donating the prescribed values of one’s body, animals, and properties to the Beit HaMikdash. This is a seemingly odd place to put these laws; of all the miscellaneous laws that were mentioned in Sefer VaYikra, why does the Torah choose to specifically conclude the Sefer with laws of gifts to the Temple?

A possible answer is that the Torah is giving us advice on how to avoid the curses and receive the blessings it delineates in Parashat BeChukotai. One of the most common ways one comes to sin is through haughtiness, believing that it is because of one’s work that he/she is successful, not Hashem. When we are enjoying the benefits of the Berachot of Parashat BeChukotai, we become comfortable and believe that we do not need Hashem’s assistance any longer. This thought then leads to sin, and eventually to the curses outlined in the Parashah. Therefore, the Torah gives us guidelines regarding how to remain righteous: When we are at the pinnacle of our wealth, we should constantly donate to the Beit HaMikdash to remain aware that all of our possessions belong to, and are gifts from, Hashem. This is possibly the best way to end Sefer VaYikra, not only for its connection to the rest of Parashat BeChukotai, but because it closes the book of Mitzvot; the constant awareness that Hashem has given us all we have must go hand-in-hand with the performance of the Mitzvot we do to serve Him fully.

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