“If” (אם) is repeated twenty-eight times in parashat B’Hukotai, such as “if you follow my laws….; if you do not obey me… if these things fail to discipline you…if a person consecrates to the Lord purchased land….” The repetition of “if” emphasizes free will and that action has consequences. After entering the Promised Land, success will depend on making good choices, marked by integrity and loyalty. As a Shabbat table reflection: What are some good choices that you have made, what were the qualities behind those decisions, and what were the consequences?
Vacation: Linda and I are off to Germany for two weeks, leaving on June 19th. Frankly, as a child of Holocaust survivors, the language of German puts me on edge and I have never desired to visit Deutschland. And yet, the time has come to overcome my discomfort. As Elie Wiesel states, “Judaism does not believe in collective guilt. We do not blame children or grandchildren for the deeds of their ancestors.” During our stay, our daughter, Anna, will join us from Tel Aviv. Items on our itinerary: I will teach one morning at the Frankel Rabbinical School in Potsdam; we will tour with the son of a Nazi who teaches Holocaust Studies at Berlin University; and Linda and I along with a cousin and his wife will explore the old Jewish towns along the Rhine River. I look forward to sharing my adventure with you.