Parshat Bechukotai Summary

Parshat Bechukotai is the 10th and final parsha in Sefer Vayikra (also known as Leviticus).

This parsha is verses Leviticus 26:3 – 27:34, or a total of 78 verses.

Here is a brief summary for each aliyah.

Parshat Bechukotai is often combined with Parshat Behar.

A significant portion of this parsha is known as the Tochachah or Admonition. God tells the Jewish people what will happen if they fail to follow the Torah.

Aliyah 1: Leviticus 26:3 – 26:5, 3 verses

The parsha does not begin right away with the admonitions.

God promises the Jewish people tremendous blessings for observing His Torah. The land will be fruitful and the harvest will always be sufficient.

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Aliyah 2: Leviticus 26:6 – 26:9, 4 verses

Here are more blessings for following the Torah:

  • Peace
  • No fear of wild animals
  • Foreign armies will not use the Land of Israel as a passageway
  • Israel will defeat its enemies
  • God will increase the Jewish population

Aliyah 3: Leviticus 26:10 – 26:46, 37 verses

The first 4 verses of this aliyah describe even more blessings:

  • Great abundance from each harvest
  • God’s Sanctuary will be among the Jewish people
  • God will not reject the people
  • God will “walk” in the midst of the Jewish people

Parshat Bechukotai harvest blessing

Everything changes starting with verse 14. Now the Tochachah or Admonition begins.

The Tochachah follows a rather simple structure. Verses 14 and 15 list the sins the people will commit if they don’t follow the Torah.

Then the consequences and punishments are listed in 7 increasing sets.

  • Set 1: verses 16 – 17
  • Set 2: verses 18 – 20
  • Set 3: verses 21 – 22
  • Set 4: verses 23 – 26
  • Set 5: verses 27 – 31
  • Set 6: verses 32 – 35
  • Set 7: verses 36 – 43

The consequences are meant to bring the people to repentance. Because they don’t properly repent, the punishments increase in intensity.

The Tochachah ends with verse 43. Then in verses 44 – 46 God assures the Jewish people that He will never totally reject them.

Aliyah 4: Leviticus 27:1 – 27:15, 15 verses

Individuals are permitted, but not required, to make donations to the Temple.

If a person pledges the value of a person, then the Torah specifies the amount of the valuation based on the person’s gender and age.

A person may pledge an animal as an offering. Once an animal has been pledged it is forbidden to substitute another animal for it.

A pledged animal that cannot be brought as an offering is sold and the proceeds given to the Temple.

A person can pledge his house to the Temple. He may then redeem it by paying its value plus an additional fifth.

NOTE: That is, the person pays 25% of the value which is 20% of the total payment. For example, if the value is $100, then the person adds $25 and makes a total payment of $125.

Aliyah 5: Leviticus 27:16 – 27:21, 6 verses

A person may pledge his ancestral field to the Temple. The value of the field is calculated based on the amount of barley that can be planted and the number of years until Yovel.

The pledged field may be redeemed by paying its value plus an additional fifth. See the Note above.

Aliyah 6: Leviticus 27:22 – 27:28, 7 verses

A person may pledge a field that he purchased. In the Jubilee Year it returns to the person who originally owned it.

A firstborn animal of one that may be brought as an offering belongs to God. The firstborn of animals that are not brought as offerings must be redeemed or sold.

Aliyah 7: Leviticus 27:29 – 27:34, 6 verses

A person sentenced to death cannot be redeemed.

Tithes of grains, vegetables, and fruits belong to God. A person may redeem them by paying their value and adding an additional fifth (see the Note above).

Newborn animals are subject to a tithe. The animal designated as the tithe retains that status no matter whether it is good or bad.

Haftarah Summary

Jeremiah 16:19 – 17:14

Jeremiah the prophet lived through many of the consequences and punishments listed in the Tochachah. He warns the people of his time about the sins they are committing. He urges them to trust only in God so that they will not be exiled from the Land of Israel.

Further Reading

Here is a previous article that talks about the various valuations at the end of this parsha.

A Note on the Translations
The translation of Bible verses is based on the Judaica Press Tanach.
The translation of Gemara is based on the Soncino Talmud.
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