The Benefits of Doing Good Things: Parshat Behar-Bechukotai

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By Kayla Gruenberg

Kayla GruenbergThis week’s Torah portion, Behar-Bechukotai, talks about the blessings and curses that God says will happen if the Israelites do not obey Him and His commandments. God promises that if the Israelites follow His laws He will send rain at the right time, but if they don’t, there will be no rain and the land will dry up.

I believe that God rewards good and punishes evil, although sometimes it takes a while for the reward or punishment to come. In addition to a straightforward reward, people also naturally benefit from doing good things. For example, if you donate money to a poor person, when that person is doing better, he/she may help you when you are in need. In my own life, I have seen good rewarded. Especially as a rabbi’s family, we are often reaching out to help others. In return, they often thank us and do nice things. Once we ran into someone my dad had helped when we were vacationing in Jamaica, and he bought my dad a drink. The best example of this was after my grandmother passed away, when the community was really caring and supportive, bringing food for my family and helping us to make a shiva minyan.

This idea of being rewarded for the good things we do also relates to what is happening in the world right now. We are in the middle of a terrible pandemic. Even though people are struggling, we can find a good side to our struggles.

The pandemic has shown us that during hard times we are rewarded for the time we put into building close relationships. Now that we are stuck at home, we have lots of family time to build an even stronger relationship with our loved ones. As an example, during Passover, my family is normally not able to host so many people in our home because of limited space, but this year my family on both sides was able to celebrate together over Zoom.

My bat mitzvah project was working with animals at the Humane Society. Animals
can’t reward you or even thank you for helping them, but every time my mom and I have gone to volunteer, I have felt rewarded by getting a good feeling afterward. God might also see what I have done to help these animals and reward me later on for doing that.

Kayla Gruenberg is a seventh grade student at Krieger Schechter Day School.

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