In this week’s Torah portion, we read about the punishments the Jewish people will receive if they do not follow the Torah. Ezra the prophet instituted that we specifically read this portion before the holiday of the giving of the Torah-Shavuot so that we should realize the responsibility we have to keep the Torah.
Although the portion talks about punishments, the portion begins with the opposite extreme. The Torah tells us “If you will follow my decrees and observe my commandments…then I will provide your rains in their time.. etc.” The verses continue with the abundance of blessings we will receive for observing the Torah.
Rashi, the premier commentary on Torah interprets the words “If you follow my decrees” to mean “if you will toil in the study of Torah.” The idea being that to receive the great blessing that the Torah enumerates it is not enough to study Torah, but, we must be totally immersed in the study of Torah. Indeed the Jewish people were always known as the people of the book, who had great passion for the pursuit of Torah study.
As we prepare for the holiday of Shavuot may we all be blessed with renewed dedication and fervor in pursuit of Torah study!