Walking in Torah is actively studying and seeking to do things within the proper framework.  Performing a mitzvah without proper education will lead to an ignorant person trying to fulfill Torah in dysfunctional manner. Not only that, s/he will teach others to follow in the same manner.  In Pirkei Avot 2:6, Hillel states that an unlearned man cannot be pious.  Why?  Because of his lack of knowledge of Torah, he actually performs the mitzvot and chukot in a way which goes against Torah.  To know Torah is to know the law or the order prescribed for our own well-being.  Any deviation is a step towards lawlessness.  Anything short of following the Torah the right way can be compared to building a tower without a proper foundation.  We are just looking for disaster.
Mysterious Decrees

Bechukotai literally means "my statutes" or "my decrees", which is different from mitzvot.  In the beginning of this portion, we are given the promise that if we walk – halku, observe and perform Hashem’s statutes, or chukot, then He will bless us in all ways from land to children.  He also will keep us safe and provide strength against our enemies.

"If you will follow [walk] My decrees and observe My Commandments and perform them, then I will provide your rains in their time, and the land will give its produce and the tree of the field will give its fruit…."  Vayikra 26:3 – 4

But herein lies the key:  if we walk – halku. Out of all the ways in which He says we should adhere to them, we are to first walk with them.  What does this mean?  How does one walk with them?  The Ohr HaChaim lists out forty-two ways in which halku is to be understood.  Without going into all forty-two, they all have one thing in common – in order for one to walk in the ways of Torah, or follow Hashem’s chukot, we must first know of them.   While mitzvot generally have a common sense reason behind why we are to adhere to them, the very nature of chukot do not appeal our understanding.  Therefore, we must study and become aware of them, walk with them and live with them.  Why the ashes of a red heifer in order to purify us after contact with the dead?  Why not something else?  These kinds of questions, while valuable, don’t provide an answer and might sway us to brush off the significance if we were not in study or walking with the Torah daily.  Herein the very nature of walking – or striving with the Torah – helps us to observe and perform the chukot. As creatures of a finite nature, we are not intended to understand the mysteries of the Divine.  However, that does not absolve us from observing them or performing them.  Nowhere does it say "if you understand go ahead and do them."  Observance and performance only become easier when we are imbued with Torah and continually build within ourselves the ability to trust Hashem and His decrees – even when we don’t understand.  This continuous walk with the Torah is imperative.

by Rebbetzin Malkah


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