Behar-Bechukotai

Relationships to the world and to God are often framed as intimacy, yet here the same is said in more violent terms: “If you stop listening and act in keri, I will punish you with fiery keri!” What is keri? The most interesting interpretations link it to chance, accident, chaos. We can see the world like this, if we choose. Things just happen – some happy, some crappy – unrelated to how morally we act. The responsibility for rich, meaningful lives is ours; is in the way we frame these things-that-happen, weave them together into a meaningful story. We don’t have to. God’s “punishment” is identical to the “sin”. If we live meaninglessly, so be it. But it can also be otherwise.

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[Inspired by: Leviticus 26, with Rashi and Rabeinu Bechaye; Likutei Moharan 282Memory, History, Forgetting by Paul Ricoeur; She’erit Ha’emuna by Rav Shagar; and Escher’s Three Worlds.]

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