Photo Credit: unspalsh
The beginning of the Torah reading of Bechukotai starts with the seemingly repetitive phrase:
“If you will walk in My statutes, and My commandments you will guard, and you shall do them; and I will give your rains in their season…”
The Berdichever theorizes that it would have been simpler to state “If you will guard My commandments, I will give your rains…”
He continues that the expanded and intricate verse comes to teach a couple of lessons.
The first lesson is that just the thought of performing a commandment is counted by God as if a commandment had been performed. There is some strength, some vitality of merely thinking about following God’s commandment which God considers as if it were already done and whose reward is then immediately set aside.
The next lesson is that if one does indeed merit to actually perform the commandment as intended, then the reward is the ability to perform another commandment. Performance of a commandment leads to performance of additional commandments. This successive sequence of commandments can lead a person to ever higher spiritual levels.
The person who is constantly performing commandments, who reaches a level of the Tzadik, the righteous, is considered to be “walking” (as in “walk in My statutes” from the verse above), because he is always on the move, reaching higher and higher levels of divine service and attachment to God.
The Berdichever highlights the potency of reinforcing positive habits and behaviors by the growing and ascending performance of commandments as well as the power of positive thinking. In God’s eyes, a positive thought, a thought to follow His directive, is as good as having done the deed, and invariably leads to performance of God’s commands and to greater accomplishments when sustained.
May we think properly and act properly.
Shabbat Shalom
To the memory of Yitzchak Yechiel Neta Hadid. May the family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem

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Ben-Tzion Spitz is a former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay and current candidate for Knesset with the Zehut party. He is the author of ten books on biblical themes and over 700 articles and stories dealing with biblical and rabbinic themes at his blog Ben-Tzion is a graduate of Yeshiva University and received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University.