Meir Tzvi Berman

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Parshas Behar - Bechukosai

"Ki Geirim V'Toshavim Atem Eemadi"

"Because you (the Jewish people) are sojourners and citizens with Me (G-d)"

The degree to which it is obvious that G-d's presence is associated with us varies over history. We can view this as a function of the degree to which we are committed to worldly pursuits. That is, the more we focus on spirituality, the more G-d's presence among us becomes obvious, both to ourselves and to the rest of the world.

We can read this in the above verse, "you are sojourners and citizens with Me."

When we live and demonstrate our belief that this world is but a passageway to the Next World, we then live in this world as sojourners. We thus make G-d's will our priority and we view Him as the citizen. G-d then assumes this role makes His presence in this world more obvious.

However, if we make unnecessarily and distracting commitments to physicality, then we begin to assume roles of the citizen. G-d then takes on the corresponding roles of a sojourner and His presence becomes less obvious.

(Ohel Yaakov)

"Ess Kaspecha Lo Siten Lo B'Neshech"

"Do not give [lend] him your money with biting (usury)"

Usury is called "biting" because the interest payments constantly nibble away at the borrower.

We can use this verse and the analogy for another lesson. The lender is called a giver. Whenever we give or do someone else a favor, we must do it with a smile, not with a bite.

(Mileches Machsheves)

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Jerusalem, Israel