His Love Is Eternal
Yael Eckstein | May 24, 2022
I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. —Leviticus 26:11
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Bechukotai, which means “My decrees,” from Leviticus 26:3–27:34.
Once, when I was a child, I was misbehaving, acting out and speaking inappropriately to my parents. My father told me to stop misbehaving once, twice, a third time. Nevertheless, I kept doing what I was doing, ignoring my father’s gentle reprimand. My father sensed that I was completely ignoring him and yelled at me. I was terrified. My father didn’t get angry with me very often and rarely expressed it the way that he did on that day. I ran to my room in tears. I remember thinking that I had permanently harmed our relationship. I mean, look how angry he was!
A few moments later, I heard my father’s footsteps coming up the stairs. He came into my room and sat on my bed where I had buried my face in my pillow. He rubbed my back. He told me how much he loved me and how he didn’t want to be angry with me. In that moment I knew that even if he got upset at me at times, his love for me could never be questioned.
His Love Is Eternal
In this week’s Torah portion, we read about God’s eternal love for His people. We read, “I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you.” What a strange thing for God to say! After telling us that He will dwell among us, does He really need to tell us that He won’t hate us?
But the truth is that just like a family living together all the time, we sometimes let our guard down and are not careful with how we treat those closest to us. God’s promise to dwell among us can be a scary proposition. If God is right here with us, what happens if we slip and make mistakes? Will God grow tired of our imperfections? Will He judge us more strictly because He is watching us so closely?
To these worries, God promises us, “I will not abhor you.” In other words, He understands us. He knows our hearts. He knows our weaknesses. And even if He sometimes lets us know that He isn’t happy with our behavior, we must never forget that His love is eternal.
Do you sometimes feel inadequate before God because of something you’ve done? How does knowing the truth of His unconditional love change your perception of yourself? Of God? Of others?