Parashat B'hukotai

No Food, No Torah; No Torah, No Food

The curses in B'hukotai were actualized during the Holocaust; when we are ready, we can seek comfort in God's blessing of consolation that follows the curses.

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In other words, if there is no food in our stomachs or if we don't have the physical or emotional essentials for life, then it is impossible for us to absorb the words of Torah or experience spirituality. And if we do not have spirituality in our lives, then we are missing the essential nutrition for our souls. After Auschwitz, many people turned away from God because they had not been able to feel God's Presence in the darkness.

Perhaps that is why the consolation blessing is so important: "Yet even then, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or spurn them so as to destroy them, annulling My covenant with them, for I the Eternal am their God. I will remember in their favor the covenant with the ancients, whom I freed from the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God: I the Eternal" (Leviticus 26: 44-45).

When we are in emotional or physical darkness, when it seems as if our world is falling apart and we cannot sense God's Presence, the consolation verse sustains us. God is there in the darkness, perhaps silent but waiting. Even when we feel cursed, the blessing of the Eternal is assured. When we are ready, we will sense God's Presence again.

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Rabbi Marcia Plumb writes about and teaches a national adult education curriculum in London, England, for the progressive movements in the U.K. She also teaches spirituality at Leo Baeck College, the European progressive rabbinical school.