This parshah begins with the many blessings which HaShem has in store for Jews who fulfill His commandments. “I will give you these blessings,” says HaShem, “Im bechukosai tailaichu — If you will proceed in the path of My laws.”

We are used to people promising things, “If..., then...” Our teachers tell us: “If you do well in the test you can have extra recess tomorrow.” Our parents promise: “If you behave well, we’ll go on a family trip next week.”

When people say “If,” it usually means they know we can either do what they want or not do what they want. But when HaShem says “If” it means more than that. It’s more like a heartfelt request. It’s as if He is saying: I know that living a life of Torah and mitzvos is good for you. If only you would do that, and follow My path...

And it’s more than a request. It’s a promise that we will have the power and strength to fulfill HaShem’s request. We really want to do what HaShem wants, but we might think that it is too hard. So HaShem says: “If you will,” meaning “I assure you that you will.” This gives us the power to do so. It’s as if HaShem is saying: I promise that you will indeed follow My mitzvos, and when you do, I will bless you.

The term that HaShem uses for mitzvos in this pasuk is chukos. Chukos comes from the Hebrew root Chakuk, which means “engraved.” When we write something, the word that is written and the material upon which it is written remain two separate things. We can erase a word from a piece of paper, for example. But when something is engraved, the word that is engraved and the material upon which it is engraved become one thing, like a stone that has a word engraved upon it.

HaShem wants us to learn, understand and fulfill words of Torah as if they were engraved upon our hearts and have become part of ourselves.

Have you ever watched a person engraving something on stone or metal? Engraving takes much more effort than writing. So it is no wonder that in this passuk, Im bechukosai tailaichu, Rashi says a Jew should labor in Torah. As we labor in Torah, making its words a part of ourselves, they will accompany us all the time. It’s our lifelong mission, and that’s why the Torah says tailaichu — you shall always continue going in this way. This is the lifelong path of a Jew.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. III, p. 1012ff)