Parshat Bechukotai: “What a Few Can Do”

Whenever we get to this parshah I always enjoy the bad math employed to show just how successful the Jews will be in defeating their enemies, should they heed the will of God:

וְרָדְפוּ֙ מִכֶּ֤ם חֲמִשָּׁה֙ מֵאָ֔ה וּמֵאָ֥ה מִכֶּ֖ם רְבָבָ֣ה יִרְדֹּ֑פוּ וְנָפְל֧וּ אֹיְבֵיכֶ֛ם לִפְנֵיכֶ֖ם לֶחָֽרֶב׃

“And five of you shall chase one hundred, and one hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.”

The message of the verse is that just as the ability of the 100 grows exponentially to combat the 10,000 – up from the 5 against 100 – so too does our community, the more united it is, gain in power and ability to overcome those who do not, for whatever reason it may be, stand with us.

Sadly, this is a message all the more necessary today in the face of rising antisemitism that cannot be denied and in a world all the more divided and contemptuous. 

The parshah is encouraging us, that even a few can do a lot – can influence dozens each, and that if enough of us are working together, we can reach even more. 

The bad math I think is there precisely to remind us just how powerful we can be.  Let us be the ones who stand up to hate, disagree without malice, and multiply the impact we make for good in the world around us!

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