May 26, 2022 / 25 Iyar, 5782 • Parshat Bechukotai
Issue 719
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

G-d instructed Moses to tell the Jewish people, “If you advance in My rules”

Leviticus 26:3

G-d’s “rules” are those commandments that defy rational explanation. The word for “rule” in Hebrew (chukah) actually means “engraved.”

When a letter is engraved onto something, the letter becomes a permanent part of it. This is not the case when a letter is written on something, for then the letter remains a separate entity from it. In the same way, it is by observing G-d’s “rules” that we truly unite with Him.

The reason for this is because just as letters are engraved in stone by removing what was there before, observing G-d’s “rules” requires us to “remove”—i.e., negate—our egos. With our egos out of the way, we can connect to G-d in the fullest way possible.

This is why G-d made His blessings dependent especially on our observance of these types of commandments. When we empty ourselves of our ego, we can view G-d’s rewards not as the motivation for complying with His will, but as intrinsic components of our relationship with Him. G-d is absolute goodness, so when we relate to Him without the interference of our egos, we can experience His goodness purely, as His self-revelation to us.

—from Daily Wisdom