Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Table Talk - Behar-Bechukosai 5767

If you were born after 1950, you probably don't know what it means to be hungry. Sure, we've all fasted on Tisha B'av and Yom Kippur. But that's not real hunger; it's delayed eating. While we might not eat until after sundown, we know that we'll have a nice filling meal waiting for us at the end of the fast. Put simply, we live in a time of such prosperity that most of us cannot remember not having enough food to eat.
Contrasting this reality with the blessings we find in our parshah can help us appreciate what we already have. At the beginning of Parshas Bechukosai, God guarantees His people great blessing should we follow the commandments of the Torah meticulously. Among those blessings God promises that, - ואכלתם לחמכם לשבע - "and you shall eat bread to satiation." (26:5) Basically, you'll have enough to eat that you'll actually be full.
While we in our generation find that blessing hard to appreciate, throughout much of world history, simply having enough to eat sufficed to fulfill most people's dreams - and blessings. If nothing else, understanding the meaning of the blessing then -- and how we take it for granted now -- gives us a new appreciation for the prosperity that God blesses us with today.