My Laws
Leviticus 26:3-27:34
Translation from The Torah: A Modern Commentary (CCAR Press)

English translation of the Torah portion Bchukotai26:3] If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments, 4] I will grant your rains in their season, so that the earth shall yield its produce and the trees of the field their fruit. 5] Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and your vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your fill of bread and dwell securely in your land.

6] I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down untroubled by anyone; I will give the land respite from vicious beasts, and no sword shall cross your land. 7] [Your army] shall give chase to your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8] Five of you shall give chase to a hundred, and a hundred of you shall give chase to ten thousand; your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.

9] I will look with favor upon you, and make you fertile and multiply you; and I will maintain My covenant with you. 10] You shall eat old grain long stored, and you shall have to clear out the old to make room for the new.

11] I will establish My abode in your midst, and I will not spurn you. 12] I will be ever present in your midst: I will be your God, and you shall be My people. 13] I the Eternal am your God who brought you out from the land of the Egyptians to be their slaves no more, who broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.

14] But if you do not obey Me and do not observe all these commandments, 15] if you reject My laws and spurn My rules, so that you do not observe all My commandments and you break My covenant, 16] I in turn will do this to you: I will wreak misery upon you—consumption and fever, which cause the eyes to pine and the body to languish; you shall sow your seed to no purpose, for your enemies shall eat it. 17] I will set My face against you: you shall be routed by your enemies, and your foes shall dominate you. You shall flee though none pursues.

18] And if, for all that, you do not obey Me, I will go on to discipline you sevenfold for your sins, 19] and I will break your proud glory. I will make your skies like iron and your earth like copper, 20] so that your strength shall be spent to no purpose. Your land shall not yield its produce, nor shall the trees of the land yield their fruit.

21] And if you remain hostile toward Me and refuse to obey Me, I will go on smiting you sevenfold for your sins. 22] I will loose wild beasts against you, and they shall bereave you of your children and wipe out your cattle. They shall decimate you, and your roads shall be deserted.

23] And if these things fail to discipline you for Me, and you remain hostile to Me, 24] I too will remain hostile to you: I in turn will smite you sevenfold for your sins. 25] I will bring a sword against you to wreak vengeance for the covenant; and if you withdraw into your cities, I will send pestilence among you, and you shall be delivered into enemy hands. 26] When I break your staff of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in a single oven; they shall dole out your bread by weight, and though you eat, you shall not be satisfied.

27] But if, despite this, you disobey Me and remain hostile to Me, 28] I will act against you in wrathful hostility; I, for My part, will discipline you sevenfold for your sins. 29] You shall eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters. 30] I will destroy your cult places and cut down your incense stands, and I will heap your carcasses upon your lifeless fetishes.

I will spurn you. 31] I will lay your cities in ruin and make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not savor your pleasing odors. 32] I will make the land desolate, so that your enemies who settle in it shall be appalled by it. 33] And you I will scatter among the nations, and I will unsheath the sword against you. Your land shall become a desolation and your cities a ruin.

34] Then shall the land make up for its sabbath years throughout the time that it is desolate and you are in the land of your enemies; then shall the land rest and make up for its sabbath years. 35] Throughout the time that it is desolate, it shall observe the rest that it did not observe in your sabbath years while you were dwelling upon it. 36] As for those of you who survive, I will cast a faintness into their hearts in the land of their enemies. The sound of a driven leaf shall put them to flight. Fleeing as though from the sword, they shall fall though none pursues. 37] With no one pursuing, they shall stumble over one another as before the sword. You shall not be able to stand your ground before your enemies, 38] but shall perish among the nations; and the land of your enemies shall consume you.

39] Those of you who survive shall be heartsick over their iniquity in the land of your enemies; more, they shall be heartsick over the iniquities of their forebears; 40] and they shall confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forebears, in that they trespassed against Me, yea, were hostile to Me. 41] When I, in turn, have been hostile to them and have removed them into the land of their enemies, then at last shall their obdurate heart humble itself, and they shall atone for their iniquity. 42] Then will I remember My covenant with Jacob; I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham; and I will remember the land.

43] For the land shall be forsaken of them, making up for its sabbath years by being desolate of them, while they atone for their iniquity; for the abundant reason that they rejected My rules and spurned My laws. 44] Yet, even then, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or spurn them so as to destroy them, annulling My covenant with them: for I the Eternal am their God. 45] I will remember in their favor the covenant with the ancients, whom I freed from the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God: I, the Eternal.

46] These are the laws, rules, and instructions that the Eternal established, through Moses on Mount Sinai, with the Israelite people.

27:1] The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying:

2] Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: When anyone explicitly vows to the Eternal the equivalent for a human being, 3] the following scale shall apply: If it is a male from twenty to sixty years of age, the equivalent is fifty shekels of silver by the sanctuary weight; 4] if it is a female, the equivalent is thirty shekels. 5] If the age is from five years to twenty years, the equivalent is twenty shekels for a male and ten shekels for a female. 6] If the age is from one month to five years, the equivalent for a male is five shekels of silver, and the equivalent for a female is three shekels of silver. 7] If the age is sixty years or over, the equivalent is fifteen shekels in the case of a male and ten shekels for a female. 8] But if one cannot afford the equivalent, that person shall be presented before the priest, and the priest shall make an assessment; the priest shall make the assessment according to what the vower can afford.

9] If [the vow concerns] any animal that may be brought as an offering to the Eternal, any such that may be given to the Eternal shall be holy. 10] One may not exchange or substitute another for it, either good for bad, or bad for good; if one does substitute one animal for another, the thing vowed and its substitute shall both be holy. 11] If [the vow concerns] any impure animal that may not be brought as an offering to the Eternal, the animal shall be presented before the priest, 12] and the priest shall assess it. Whether high or low, whatever assessment is set by the priest shall stand; 13] and if one wishes to redeem it, one-fifth must be added to its assessment.

14] If anyone consecrates a house to the Eternal, the priest shall assess it. Whether high or low, as the priest assesses it, so it shall stand; 15] and if the one who has consecrated the house wishes to redeem it, one-fifth must be added to the sum at which it was assessed, and then it shall be returned.

16] If anyone consecrates to the Eternal any land-holding, its assessment shall be in accordance with its seed requirement: fifty shekels of silver to a chomer of barley seed. 17] If the land is consecrated as of the jubilee year, its assessment stands. 18] But if the land is consecrated after the jubilee, the priest shall compute the price according to the years that are left until the jubilee year, and its assessment shall be so reduced; 19] and if the one who consecrated the land wishes to redeem it, one-fifth must be added to the sum at which it was assessed, and it shall be passed back. 20] But if the one [who consecrated it] does not redeem the land, and the land is sold to another, it shall no longer be redeemable: 21] when it is released in the jubilee, the land shall be holy to the Eternal, as land proscribed; it becomes the priest’s holding.

22] If one consecrates to the Eternal land that was purchased, which is not one’s land-holding, 23] the priest shall compute the proportionate assessment up to the jubilee year, and the assessment shall be paid as of that day, a sacred donation to the Eternal. 24] In the jubilee year the land shall revert to the one from whom it was bought, whose holding the land is. 25] All assessments shall be by the sanctuary weight, the shekel being twenty gerahs.

26] A firstling of animals, however, which—as a firstling—is the Eternal’s, cannot be consecrated by anybody; whether ox or sheep, it is the Eternal’s. 27] But if it is of impure animals, it may be ransomed at its assessment, with one-fifth added; if it is not redeemed, it shall be sold at its assessment.

28] But of all that anyone owns, be it human or beast or land-holding, nothing that has been proscribed for the Eternal may be sold or redeemed; every proscribed thing is totally consecrated to the Eternal. 29] No human being who has been proscribed can be ransomed: that person shall be put to death.

30] All tithes from the land, whether seed from the ground or fruit from the tree, are the Eternal’s; they are holy to the Eternal. 31] If anyone wishes to redeem any tithes, one-fifth must be added to them. 32] All tithes of the herd or flock—of all that passes under the shepherd’s staff, every tenth one—shall be holy to the Eternal. 33] One must not look out for good as against bad, or make substitution for it. If one does make substitution for it, then it and its substitute shall both be holy: it cannot be redeemed.

34] These are the commandments that the Eternal gave Moses for the Israelite people on Mount Sinai.

Translation from The Torah: A Modern Commentary, copyright (c) 2016 by CCAR Press. All rights reserved. Translation of Exodus; Leviticus; Numbers; Deuteronomy from NJPS © 1962, 1985, 1999; CJPS © 2006. Used and adapted by CCAR Press with permission from The Jewish Publication Society and the University of Nebraska Press. No part of this translation may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, distributed, or be transmitted without express written permission from the Central Conference of American Rabbis. For permission, please contact CCAR Press.