Bechukotai 5776: Abuse of Power



May 30, 2016

Bechukotai contains 46 verses of God oscillating between control and punishment if His laws aren’t followed.

I view this tochacha (rebuke), with its intensity of emotion, as a warning: Be careful of the abuse of power in relationships.

The tochacha encapsulates the cycle of abuse.

The Tension Building period: You must follow the laws in the exact manner God has commanded.

The Incident: “But if you do not obey Me…if you reject My laws and spurn My rules…I will wreak misery upon you…I will break your proud glory”

The Reconciliation period: The people of Israel decide to once more follow the laws.

And then, the Honeymoon Phase: “Yet, even then…I will not reject or spurn them as to destroy them”

For us to truly take the tochacha into our hearts, we must be active allies across campus and in our communities. We need to amplify survivors’ voices and create dialogue around healthy relationships and ending cycles of abuse. If ‘It’s On Us’, then we need to use the tochacha as an example of the dangerous interplay of power in human relationships.

Amalia Mark is Director of Jewish Student Life at the University of Arizona Hillel.