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    Leader and people – B’chukkotai

    walkingIt is a great promise: “If you walk in My statutes… I will walk among you; I will be your God and you will be My people” (Lev. 26:3, 12).

    The easier part of the passage is the first clause. “Walking in God’s statutes” means following the path He lays down. That is why halachah (“walking”) is the name for Jewish law. But what does the second clause mean when it speaks of God “walking amongst us”?

    Sforno suggests that what God is promising is that wherever Israel are, the Divine glory will be with them, for wherever the righteous are, that place is sacred as if the sanctuary were there.

    The Ramban, Nachmanides, understands the words differently: God’s attitude to Israel will be like a king who mingles with his men in a camp and tends to their needs.

    What the Ramban is telling us is that God is not only transcendent – above and beyond His world – but also immanent, “near to all who call upon Him” (Psalm 145:18).

    It also gives us a concept of leadership. If God is not too high and mighty to mix with His creatures, a human leader certainly must come down from the heights and be with his followers, getting to know them, listening to them and caring for their wants.

    The leader who does not want to deal with the little people, who disdains the little things, is no leader and will not survive.

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