Who started it, and who can stop the plagues and war?
This week we begin reading the book of Leviticus, or VaYikra in Hebrew וַיִּקְרָא.
In Hebrew, the 5 books of the Torah are named after the first meaningful word in the book.
Here is how Leviticus starts:
וַיִּקְרָא אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֵלָיו מֵאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לֵאמֹר׃
And God called to Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying: (Lev. 1:1)
The Hebrew verb קָרָא (KaRaA) means ‘to call’ in a way that expresses affection (see Rashi).
It is related to a very similar Hebrew verb קָרָה (KaRaH) which is pronounced the same, but means ‘to occur seemingly by chance.’
PROVIDENCE OR NATURE
As we know, in a Universe where God is the Creator, Sustainer and Supervisor, nothing happens by ‘chance.’
Everything that happens is for a reason. There is a message for us if we are ready to receive it.
If we don’t assume God has His Hand in history, then events that occur in our world will seem random, chaotic and frightening. We panic and think it is up to us to find a way to ‘control’ and ‘change’ the events.
PANDEMICS AND WARS
When pandemics and wars occur, and we think it is up to Mankind (i.e. our governments) to find the solutions… the world is a very frightening place. If we turn to the Almighty and recognize He is the ultimate power in the world, and nothing will change unless He is involved with our actions, then our responses to the events will be quite different… physically, emotionally and spiritually.
THE CURSES KEEP COMING
Just when we thought the pandemic was over and we were about to have some time to ‘catch our breath.’ The war in Ukraine starts up with a real threat of a nuclear world war!!!
In our panic to stop the war, it seems the world’s responses only seem to be inflaming things.
Have we been living through three years of chaos and random frightening events, or is the Almighty calling out to the world to get our attention? Is it time to stop putting our trust in, and aligning our responses solely to, the powers of Science and Government?
NATIONAL BLESSINGS AND CURSES
In the Torah portion “Bechukotai” (Leviticus 26:3), God tells the Nation of Israel about the blessings that will result if we choose to follow His Laws. We will be blessed with bounty from the Land and we will live in peace from our enemies with a close relationship to God.
If we choose not to follow His laws and despise them, the result will be a plague (Leviticus 26:16-20) and we will be attacked by our enemies and the Land will cease yielding its produce.
If we continue to ignore God even after the wake up call of the plague and war, then…
וְאִם־תֵּלְכוּ עִמִּי קֶרִי וְלֹא תֹאבוּ לִשְׁמֹעַ לִי וְיָסַפְתִּי עֲלֵיכֶם מַכָּה שֶׁבַע כְּחַטֹּאתֵיכֶם׃
And if you continue on relating to Me KeRi (i.e. relating to the plague and wars that I sent as ‘natural’ ‘chance’ events) and don’t listen to Me, I will go on smiting you seven fold for your sins. (Leviticus 26:1)
The rest of the chapter explains that if we continue ignoring God and treating His Divine Providence as natural occurrences and we continue to ignore His Will, then things get progressively worse.
IT’S OUR CHOICE
The miracle of our world is that God gives us the free choice to see things either way:
1. World events occur randomly by chance and it is up to us to control them… or
2. God is speaking to us throughout history in order to get our attention to invite us to help align the world with His Will.
Most of us are still wondering what was the source of the “Corona pandemic?” Was it an accidental leak from a Lab in China? Was it a ‘freak’ mutation in a wet market? Was it a purposely released bio weapon? We tend to look for the natural causes for the plague and turn to Government, Science and Big Pharma to control nature and make the plague go away.
Now we are asking ourselves, who is to blame for the war in Ukraine? Is it Putin? Is it the Ukrainians who wanted to join NATO? Is it Biden’s policies? Is it Trump’s policies?
THE REAL QUESTIONS
How many of us are asking, “What is the Almighty trying to tell us?” “How has the world been ignoring Him?” “What does He want us to change?”
By the way, the Hebrew word for Corona is קורונה
The Hebrew word for Ukraine is אוקראינה
Both have the same root קר(KR) which can mean “calling out to us” or “it’s a chance occurrence.”
It’s up to us to decide.
If you enjoyed these words of Torah,
Praying for the peace and safety of everyone in the region.
With blessings from the Galilee!
Rabbi Shmuel Veffer