Shabbat Shalom

23 Iyar 5773, Shabbat Shalom.

This week there is a double parsha of Behar and Bechukotai.

Behar (בְּהַר),Hebrew for ” on the mound”, covers Leviticus 25:1-26:2 and explains the details of the agricultural laws related to Jubillee and Shmita. There are 7 positive and 17 negative commandments in Behar. This is a favorite parsha for Jewish environmentalists, hippies, and sustainable agriculture fans.

Bechukotai (בְּחֻקֹּתַי) translated as ” by my decrees”, covers Leviticus 26:3-26:34, and is filled with promises/threats of what will happen if G-d’s laws are obeyed or disregarded.  There are 7 positive and 5 negative commandments in Bechukotai, as well as an interesting gender and age based valuation system for human life. In this parsha,  G-d instructed Moses that anytime an Israelite makes a vow to G-d for the value of a human life it should be payable according to the following value matrix:

  • for a girl from 1 month to 5 years, 3 shekels
  •  for a boy from 1 month to 5 years, 5 shekels
  • for a boy from 5 to 20 years, 20 shekels
  • for a girl from 5 to 20 years, 10 shekels
  •  for a man from 20 to 60 years of age, 50 shekels
  • for a woman from 20 to 60 years, 30 shekel
  • for a man 60 years or over, 15 shekels
  • for a woman 60 years or over, 10 shekels

 I’m in the 30 shekel range.  How about you?

Translations via JTS:  and




Animated at G-dcast:   and

“Funding for Whidbey Island Jewish Community was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Special Initiatives Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.”


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