Ariel Ben Avraham

Parshat Behar-Bechukotai: Living life as the blessing of goodness

The book of Leviticus ends with numerous commandments aimed to reaffirm the ethical principles of goodness as our common bond with God, and also with our fellow man. As we have indicated in other commentaries in this blog, the entire Torah is a lengthy instruction on the ways and means we must understand goodness. Thus we don’t fall into ego’s fantasies and illusions that approach goodness according to their whims at the expense or detriment of others.

“And you shall not wrong one another, but you shall revere your God; for I am the Lord your God. Wherefore you shall do My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. And you shall dwell in the land in safety.” (Leviticus 25:17-18)

God’s ways and attributes are manifest in His commandments as the means to make goodness prevail in the material world. Thus we realize that goodness is certainly the land and also our safety. We have said often that the Promised Land is the state of consciousness in which we experience and delight in the goodness God has bestowed in life. Therefore the land of Israel is meant to be the good life He wants us to have and enjoy in this world.

In the two portions of the Torah we read this week there are several passages that refer both to living in the land of Israel and the Messianic era, as the Jubilee is mentioned. Some of our sages consider the Jubilee the beginning of the final redemption in Judaism, for in that time all ties and bindings to the material world will be released, liberated or redeemed.

The blast of the shofar in the Jubilee will be similar to the blast our forefathers heard before God’s revelation in Sinai when He gave us the Torah. Back then all the children of Israel were cleansed, healed and restored to their purest spiritual and material essence and identity, totally free from the materialistic mirages of ego’s fantasies and illusions, along with the stains of evil ways, traits and trends in human consciousness.

As we individually and collectively engage in correcting, rectifying and reorienting all aspects, dimensions and expressions of all levels of consciousness by being and manifesting goodness also as the essence of our true identity, we begin to enter the gates of our final redemption and herald the total freedom of the Jubilee in the eternal Messianic era. Thus we understand that the land of life is goodness destined to also yield goodness as its produce.

“And the land shall yield her fruit, and you shall eat until you have enough, and dwell there in safety.” (25:19)

In goodness and through goodness we know our Creator and recognize Him as the source of the blessings He bestowed in life. Thus we also express our gratitude for what He prepares for us when we live in goodness.

“The peoples shall thank You, O Lord, all the peoples shall thank You. [For] The land has given its produce. The Lord shall bless us and all from the corners of the land shall revere Him.” (Psalms 67:6-7)

These verses invite us to reflect on the goodness of life as also as the spiritual heritage that transcends time and space, for it is bound to the Creator. Hence it is something that can’t be bound to the material world while we live, for it belongs to Him. As long as we are aware of this bond, we are able to realize that we are destined to experience goodness in the material and spiritual aspects of life, because God is always in us.

“And the land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is Mine; and you are strangers and settlers with Me.” (Leviticus 25:23)

Thus we also realize that our bond with the Creator as foreigners and residents in this world we also share with our fellow man, for his goodness is our goodness. Once we share and multiply goodness for everyone, nobody lacks anything and there is nothing to transgress or sin about, because we all are fulfilled with, in and for the sake of goodness.

“And if your brother becomes poor and his means fail with you, then you shall uphold him as a stranger and a settler shall he live with you.” (25:35)

As these verses point out, Israel’s inheritance is the goodness of life as the Promised Land we are destined to have and to settle, and sojourn in it. Thus we also understand that our true freedom is goodness, with which God breaks the yoke of the negative traits and trends of ego’s fantasies and illusions, for only in goodness we can walk upright as God wants us to be.

“(…) and I have broken the bars of your yoke, and made you go upright.” (26:13)

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Kochav Yaakov.
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