Why are these verses here? What do they have to do with the rest of Behar?
Rashi give us the first answer. What is he adding? What do you think of his approach? Sforno gives us a second answer. How is he different from Rashi and what do you think of his approach?
According to Rashi, the Torah is specifically warning against peer pressure. We are not to behave like those around us, even if we work for them. We are not to worship idols or forget Shabbat no matter what “everyone else” might be doing.
According to Seforno, the Torah is talking about the importance of Jewish dignity when Jews live among gentiles who are sometimes oppressive. That dignity should be maintained by acting as Jews should act – refraining from idol worship, observing Shabbat, and establishing synagogues and study houses.
Which answer do you find more convincing, Rashi’s or Seforno’s? How might we apply the lessons in our own lives?
Do you have a different idea as to why these two verses conclude Parashat Behar?