Behar-Behukkotai (Leviticus 25:1 – 27:34)

With this week’s double portion, Behar-Behukkotai, we come to the end of the book of Leviticus.  The last two chapters each end with by affirming that the preceding laws were all communicated to Moses by the Lord on Mt. Sinai for the Israelites (Lev.26:46 and  27:34). Both Behar (Lev. 25:1-26:2) and Behukkotai are forward looking, though with decidedly different spin.   Behar deals with the sabbatical (7th) year (“shmitta”) and the jubilee (50th) year, thereby of course implying that the Israelite settlement in Canaan will last at least 50 years.  It is necessary to put in place appropriate mechanisms to deal with letting the land lie fallow and forgiving debts in the shmitta year, and, at the jubilee, restoring land holdings to their original owners, in such a was that people don’t starve and the economy doesn’t collapse and loans don’t dry up in the year or two beforehand.  The land is to have its own Sabbath, allowing it to rest, and a reminder to the Israelites to observe the Sabbath ends Behar. Behar is also where we find the words that were engraved on the Liberty Bell, 25:23 “proclaim liberty (or “release”) throughout the land, to all the inhabitants thereof.” 

Behukkotai starts out with what appears to be your typical if/then summary of actions and consequences.:good leads to good (peace, security, fertility, etc.), disobedience leads to bad; more disobedience to really bad, and still more disobedience to REALLY, really bad.  “Bad” multiplies.  The “bad” section is often called “the minor Tochachah” (tochachah = rebukes, warning); the major one is in Deuteronomy,  But this isn’t a mere carrot and stick list.  The idea is that the people will decide to obey because that will  inherently enable them to have a better life.  OK, avoidance of the pain is a really powerful motivator too.  But even though disobeying or ignoring the laws can lead to the emotional trauma of a broken relationship with the Lord, the rift can always be healed through sincere atonement (Lev. 26:41-45).  The portion, and Leviticus, ends with a section on how to assess the value of land, animals, or people to be consecrated to the Lord.  Say, if you want to dedicate the equivalent of yourself, or a child, how many shekels is that equivalent to?  People are valued in classes according to age (1 month up to 5 years, 5 up to 20, 20 up to 60, 60 and up) and sex (here, male and female).  Wonder if this could be used for synagogue fundraising?

Shabbat shalom,
In memory of our calico cat, Twink (ca. 1998 to May 15, 2012, peacefully at home, 2 months after detection of an abdominal mass).  She was a unique combination of sweet, snuggly kitty and, when she managed to sneak out, mighty huntress.  She knew how to rest.
Does Your Cat Own You?


Do you sleep in the same position all night because it annoys your cats when you move?
Does your cat sleep on your head? Do you like it?
Do you watch bad TV because the cat is sleeping on the remote?
Do you put off making the bed until the cat gets up
Do you climb out of bed over the headboard or footboard, so you won’t disturb the sleeping cat?
Will and Guy’s Top Ten Funny Cat Quotations
1. Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this. – Anon
2. There are many intelligent species in the universe. They are all owned by cats. – Anon
3. Dogs believe they are human. Cats believe they are God. – Anon
4. As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat. – Ellen Perry Berkeley
5. People that hate cats, will come back as mice in their next life. – Faith Resnick
6. In a cat’s eye, all things belong to cats. – an English proverb
7. I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior. – Hippolyte Taine
8. Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia.” – Joseph Wood Krutch
9. Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow. – Jeff Valdez
10. There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats. – Albert Schweitzer

Possibly our favourite cat funny:  Dogs come when they’re called; cats take a message and get back to you later. – Mary Bly
Debt collector
Ragil was playing with a coin when he by accident swallowed it. He went crying to his mom, choking on the coin. They took him to a doctor, who said that the coin was impossible to remove without surgery.precision

They consulted a specialist who was of the same opinion. 

Then came a man who said that he could get the money out in a jiffy. He turned Ragil upside down and patted him with great precision on the back of neck and, sure enough, the coin rolled out.

Everyone was amazed. The father said ” you must be an expert!”
The man replied.” No, sir, I’m just a debt collector.”


Things To Say To Bill Collectors (lightly edited)
1. You said to pay you with interest. And since I had no interest in paying you I thought that meant to let it go.
2. Well, considering the bill is passed due that means the due date has passed, right? If the due date has passed so has my chance to pay you.
3. Considering you sent me my final notice and now you’re telling me about this again, how can I believe anything you say?
4. Okay, the 1st and the 2nd notice were understandable. But now you’re stalking me.
5. You do realize when someone stops returning your calls, your mail and pretends they’re not home when you knock on their front door, Doctor Phil says let it go?
6. Yeah, you’d be surprised how many people I owe money to. That reminds me, I could use some employed friends. What are you doing this Friday?
7. Look, I paid you in an unmarked sack full of tens and twenties. There must have been some confusion about which maple tree in town square I buried that sack under.
8. The only problem I have with paying you is then my ex would realize it’s possible.
Liberty Bell Trivia

The strike note of the Bell is E-flat
[Listen to the Normandy Liberty Bell ]

There are three known recordings of the Bell. Two were made in the 1940s for radio stations to play; the third is currently owned by Columbia Records.

On the bell, “Pennsylvania” is spelled “Pensylvania”

As an April Fools (1996) joke, Taco Bell ran a full-page ad in various newspapers, including The New York Times, claiming to have bought the Liberty Bell.
Category: On 1 Foot
Parshas Behar
by S. Galena Posted: 07-09-2006(Viewed 699 times)

God: Don’t plow your land every seventh year.
Jews: But who will provide for us in the 7th year?
God: Deal or No Deal?
God reminds them of tochacha (punishments)
Jews: Deal!
[dead link – sent out in 2006] Source: Phil Scales

Every seventh year, the Torah teaches Jews not to sow seed into the land; to let the land lie fallow, so that the Earth can replenish itself and be of arable value again for another six years.
It so happened that Yaakov, a pumpkin farmer, grew up in rural Pennsylvania, where pumpkin patches are plentiful. A place where the Halloween holiday is very much a rich part of the local culture.
Upon making Aliyah (immigrating to Israel), Yaakov set up a pumpkin farm in northern
Israel, and every year, celebrates Halloween, with a twist: Every seventh year, when the land lies fallow, he celebrates …
Speaking of people going back to their original holdings, I learned from my daughter Roz that people return to their ancestral villages to celebrate the Vietnamese New Year.I guess for us that would be West Philly, back to about 1920.
Sun, 15 Mar 2009 12:38:13 -0700
My hometown was so small…

* the clinic was called Joe’s Hospital and Grill
* long distance calls are delayed when the area code is busy
* the town Lady of the Evening stands under a flashlight
* in order to paint traffic lines, the road had to be widened
* instead of hoses, the Fire Department uses water pistols
* you had to make a reservation to use the parking meter
* during snowstorms, salt was spread using a salad shooter
* the local Motel 6 sleeps six
* during a boxing match, both men have to sit in the same corner
* the class valedictorian had both the highest & lowest averages
* the Mayor was also the Sheriff, Town Council & street sweeper
* we had no porn movie house; once a week someone left the shades up
* the municipal water system’s pump was supplied by Water Pik
* before you visited, you could look out a window & see who was home
* there was no town idiot — everybody had to take turns
Category: On 1 Foot
Parshas Bechukosai
by S. Galena Posted: 07-09-2006(Viewed 896 times)

God: If Condition1 Then statement2 (bracha)
         Else If Condition2 Then statement 2 (curse)

Introduces the IF/THEN statements to computer programming…
Product Warnings..Joke?
Dumb and Funny Warning Labels On Products:

Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding:
Product will be hot after heating.

Packaging for a Rowenta iron:
Do not iron clothes on body.

Boot’s Children’s cough medicine:
Do not drive car or operate machinery.

Nytol sleep aid:
Warning: may cause drowsiness.

String of Chinese-made Christmas lights:
For indoor or outdoor use only.

Japanese food processor:
Not to be used for the other use.

Sainsbury’s peanuts:
Warning: contains nuts.

American Airlines packet of nuts:
Instructions: open packet, eat nuts.

Korean kitchen knife:
Warning keep out of children

Helmet mounted mirror used by us cyclists:
Remember, objects in the mirror are actually behind you

New Zealand insect spray:
This product not tested on animals.

Blanket from Taiwan:
Not to be used as protection from a tornado

Cardboard windshield sun shade:
Warning: Do Not Drive With Sun Shield in Place.
Reward and Punishment Quotes
“Good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature: these are the spur and reins whereby all mankind are set on work, and guided”
 John Locke quotes (English Philosopher who made great contributions in studies of politics, government and psychology. 1632-1704)
“Men are rewarded or punished not for what they do but for how their acts are defined. That is why men are more interested in better justifying themselves than in better behaving themselves.”
 Thomas S. Szasz quotes (Hungarian psychiatrist and Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse, b.1920)
 “Rewards and punishment is the lowest form of education.”
 Chuang Tzu quotes (The most significant of China’s early interpreters of Taoism, 389-286 BC)

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