Bechukotai

“And I shall give peace in the land and you shall lie down without fear …and no sword shall cross your land “(26:6)

The assurance that the sword of war will not cross our borders is sufficient reason to rest peacefully at night. The mere fact that we have nothing to worry about should put our minds at ease. Why then does the Torah find it necessary to add to the blessing of no sword throughout the land, the additional blessing that we will sleep without fear?

The Ozrover rebbe(1889-1971) posits  this verse as alluding  not to the physical threat posed  but rather to an imaginary  sword. The type one conjures up in ones mind. Even after the shutters have been drawn and the windows and doors locked this sword festers  and is able to penetrate the most sophisticated security system. This is the sword of envy the blade of jealousy towards one another. It sews its seeds with a person’s dissatisfaction with his lot in life and manifests itself with the individuals constant backward glance at his neighbour’s success. He cannot rest peacefully, as his days and nights are filled with anxiety and fear, the result of his imagination

The torah bestows a second blessing on the committed jew. The person who is willing to the transcend the temptations this world has to offer, to devote himself to  life with a spiritual  dimension. He is guaranteed “to lie down with out fear”. This blessing then is not redundant rather it is a separate blessing that regardless of one’s circumstance –even if he is wealthy –he will sleep peacefully. He will not fear losing what he has amassed, nor will he experience the anxiety resulting from a deep rooted envy of others who have as much as he does.  Though the emotional fear may be a figment of ones overrractive  imagination  nonetheless it poses as greater danger as that of its physical counterpart it is the torah which offers protection from both.

(Published in the JC 4/05/11)

Published by Rabbi Piny Hackenbroch

Rabbi Piny Hackenbroch is currently the Senior Rabbi in Woodside Park Synagogue – a modern orthodox thriving community of some 1,400 members. His innate love for people and his empowering brand of leadership make him a well-loved figure in Woodside Park & London.

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