Bechukotai – Can You Stand The Blessing?
If you will follow my laws and watch my commandments and do them. I will give you rain in the correct seasons and the land will give its produce and the tree of the field will give its fruit. Your grain harvest will reach into your vine harvest… and you will sit secure in your land.
The blessings in our Perasha include material wealth, healthy children, military might, closeness to G-d and more. The blessings are written once.
This is followed by a list of curses for those who do not follow the Torah. The curses in our Perasha are the opposites of the blessing. They are repeated four times with each time getting harsher.
The Ramban says that empty headed people think that the curses are more than the blessing. The curses are specific while the blessing are vague. Something which is vague includes much more. The curses are specific so there is nothing hidden. Our Rabbis of blessed memory have noted that the blessings in the Torah are greater both quantitatively and qualitatively than the curses. So when B’nai Yisrael are righteous they receive a tremendous amount of blessing.
Our Rabbis have said: (Sanhedrin 100 A) Rabi Meir says ‘a person is measured by his measuring stick….’ Rabbi Yehoshua asks ‘Is it possible to say such a thing. If a person gives a handful of charity to a poor person in this world, is it possible that G-d will reward him with a handful by G-d’s standards in the next world….
A person is too small to receive such tremendous reward. He would collapse from the weight of G-d’s handful of reward. The Gemmarah goes on to ask:
What is a greater quantity goodness or punishment? You should say that goodness is greater. With regards to goodness it is written ‘He commanded the heavens and the doors of the sky opened and he rained Manna on them for them to eat.’ with regards to punishment it is written about the flood ‘The windows of heaven were opened.
Rashi explains that a door is four times the size of a window. So you can see that blessing is much greater.
But still how can a person have the strength to withstand such a blessing? The Gemmarah concludes:
It is written… [The fire against the wicked will never be extinguished] In this world if a person burns his finger he automatically jumps. He does not have the strength to leave his finger there and to withstand being burnt. In the world to come G-d will give them the strength to withstand the heat. If he is going to give strength to the wicked to withstand such harsh punishment how much more so is it true that he will give strength to the righteous to enjoy their punishment.
We can see the logic behind this. When you are blessed with a vacation you have a lot of strength. You sleep three hours a night, eat a lot, drink alcoholic beverages. When you do something you do not enjoy one shot of Arac can incapacitate you and three hours of sleep would ruin the day.