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    Reward & punishment – B’chukkotai

    How much do you get out of Judaism?

    That’s the underlying question of B’chukkotai.

    The text says that if we obey God’s statutes we will be rewarded.

    If we think of ourselves as individuals, the promise may or may not come true.

    That’s why some commentators argue that the Torah is addressing the nation. If Jews live by the Divine laws, so this opinion goes, they will be rewarded as a community.

    Of course there is a time question – will the reward be immediate, or will God take His time?

    Events seem to prove the second view. But there is another way altogether to understand the Biblical text.

    The person who obeys God might or might not enjoy material and physical reward but what the Torah is talking about is spiritual and psychological reward, an attitude, a feeling, a belief.

    If I obey God I feel good. The problems and perplexities of life do not necessarily abate, but I echo the thought at the end of Adon Olam, “The Lord is with me: I shall not fear”.

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