Bechukotai: Old School vs. New School



Are new things better than old things? Are old things better than new? Is Judaism cutting-edge or old fashioned? Are you young at heart or an old soul? 

Would you rather own a vintage car or the latest model? Would you rather drink aged Scotch or Beaujolais nouveau? How about fruit – do you prefer fresh or dried? And how about fish – sushi or lox? 

One of the Creator’s blessings, about which we read in this week’s Torah portion, is that Israel shall eat old produce. Huh? Is this a blessing or a blight? Who wants old leftovers? 

And then the Talmud declares: “All things are better when aged, save for dates, beer, and small fish.” 


Well, come and let us journey to the Highlands of Scotland, where the Macallan distillery can teach us a thing or two about aging grain. Let’s sip on $4,500 golden liquid that was distilled in 1940! Let’s feast on some aged cheese and discover the fascinating relevance of this cryptic verse in this week’s Torah reading. 

And while we are at it, let’s delve into the mystery of the first Lag B’Omer. Let’s meet the mysterious Atika Kadisha, the Holy Ancient One. 

Our Judaism must be well aged, teaches the Torah, and that means constantly being innovative, while tapping the depths of our well-stocked cellars. 

Jews have been in the business of souls longer than anyone else – since time immemorial. One could say our spirits are well aged, very well aged.

Intoxicating, isn’t it?


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