Double Mitzvah – Behar / Bechukotai

Double Mitzvah Jewrotica Parsha

Written by Tamar Fox. Check out last week’s post in this series, Double Mitzvah – Emor.

Rated PGIn this week’s double portion we read about the carrot and the stick dangled before the Israelites. The carrot is the land of Israel, a land of water, good harvests, and redemption. The stick is the lack of all these things, plus wild beasts, disease, and cataclysmic natural disasters. Additionally, God explains that after God has fully executed God’s wrath over the people who rejected the Divine will, the remaining people “shall be heartsick over their iniquity” (Leviticus 26:39). Moreover, “they shall be heartsick over the iniquities of their fathers, and they shall confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, in that they trespassed against Me, yea, were hostile to Me.”

God is essentially saying that the final step of the punishment for not accepting God’s will is having punishment meted out to the next generation–the innocent generation, that never even got the opportunity to accept or reject God.

It’s a horrible idea, that an innocent generation might be sacrificed because of the sins of their parents. But it’s one that resonates with me today because I had a dream last night about an ex-boyfriend. I woke up deeply relieved to be in the present, and not in the past that involved him. Still, the fact that he continues to reside in my subconscious reminded me of the adage that “you always fight the last war.”

In relationships, we are always moving forward, though we may be mentally stuck in the battles we fought with past partners. It may be little things–refusing to put a new roll of toilet paper on the spindle, forgetting to take out the garbage–or it may be grander issues–consent, kink, sex drive, attraction–but whatever were the issues that caused a rift in a past relationship, they are the ones we focus on, often needlessly, as we move forward.

It is a horrible and harmful thing, to punish the innocent for the crimes of those that came before them. As we move forward in our relationships, may we be generous with our new partners, and not shackle them with the chains of our exes.

Shabbat shalom!

Author of Jewrotica's Double Mitzvah column, Tamar Fox is a writer and editor in Philadelphia. She will try anything once, including open relationships, dating someone who is chalav yisrael, and going to Suriname.