Bechukotai – Compliance or Defiance

3 If you follow my laws and you will preserve my commandments and do them, I will send your rain at the appropriate times so the Land will produce crops and the tree in the field will produce fruit. [1]Chapter 26 —

Leviticus 26

It could be a world filled with righteousness and harmony, like a soaring piece of music.  Compliance sounds like this:

But the world isn’t that organized like that. It has been so confusing to look around and see the disharmony and dissonance.

21 If you walk in a defiant gait and loathe listening to me, then I will increase injury to you by seven times your transgressions.

Leviticus 26

So what is it like this “defiant gait”? Can you identify it when you see someone walking towards you?  Have you ever seen it in someone you know? Is it a rampage, ornery and uncontrollable? Should the defiant be avoided or shunned?

BANG! The doors slam shut and ominous music fills the air. Defiance probably sounds like this:

Is the defiant one only human or could there be a situation in which defiance is divine?  Might a whole group or nation be defiant? If so, what are the consequences to defiance?

22 I will set loose wild animals on you which will distress you, your cattle will be cut off, you will be diminished; your roads will be desolate. … 41 When I will go defiantly against them, I will bring them to their enemies’ land; at last they will humble their insensitive hearts and then they will expiate their offense.

Leviticus 26

Such explicit and alarming words of warning, could the consequences of defying cosmic forces be like this?

6 God become like an enemy and devoured Israel, devoured all of her palaces, destroyed her defenses; in Judah, her moaning and mourning increased.

Lamentations 2
Dali painting

By Image taken from, Fair use,

What do we all hope for in reality? We cannot predict what will be in the future, but hope that the best is yet to come.

1 A chant: praise YHWH with a new song—for [God] has worked wonders. …

7 Let the sea in its entirety roar, as well as the land and its inhabitants.

8 Rivers will applaud together with resounding hills

9 Before YHWH, who has come to judge the Land—judging the world justly and the peoples impartially.

Psalm 98

Midrash Harabah and English translations by Rabbi Gail Shuster-Bouskila ©2021