Being Thankful is Significantly Religiously

Being Thankful is Significantly Religiously 7 30 21

In R. Jonathan Sacks’ 2015 Devar Tora for Parashat Eikev, “The Power of Gratitude” (  The Power of Gratitude (Ekev 5775) – Rabbi Sacks ), the section of the Parashat HaShavua that draws his attention is the following:

Devarim 8:11-7

11 Beware lest thou forget the LORD thy God, in not keeping His Commandments, and His Ordinances, and His Statutes, which I command thee this day; 12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art satisfied, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14 Then thy heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, Who Brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; 15 Who Led thee through the great and dreadful wilderness, wherein were serpents, fiery serpents, and scorpions, and thirsty ground where was no water; Who Brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; 16 Who Fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might Afflict thee, and that He might Prove thee, to Do thee good at thy latter end; 17 And thou say in thy heart: My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth.

Continue reading

Combatting False Impressions that May Plague the Jewish People Going Forward

Combatting False Impressions that May Plague the Jewish People Going Forward 7 29 21

Three errors of judgment arising from a miscomprehension of the events that immediately preceded the Jews relocating to Israel.

In R. Amnon Bazak’s second essay for Parashat Eikev, “Zechirat HaEved KiPitaron LeBayot HaAtid” (Nekudat Peticha: Iyunim Ketzarim BePeshuta Shel Parashat HaShavua, [revised and expanded], Yediot Acharonot, Rishon LeTziyon, 2018, pp. 400-01), he points out that the Parashat HaShavua presents Moshe as discussing three possible thoughts entertained by the Jews at different times and about different things, that could lead them astray as they prepare to take up residence in the Promised Land:

a) Devarim 7:17

If thou shalt say in thy heart: These nations (that presently live in Canaan) are more than I; how can I dispossess them?

(Such thinking occurs during the Jews’ journeys through the wilderness. Since the people do not believe in God’s Power to Fulfill His Promises to them, they are concerned about their future battles with the current residents of Israel.)

Continue reading

Events and Objects Lacking Fanfare May Be Longer-Lasting

Events and Objects Lacking Fanfare May Be Longer-Lasting 7 28 21

What is symbolized by the preservation of the fragments of the first Tablets?

In Sivan Rahav-Meir’s third Devar Tora for Parashat Eikev, “We Carry Our Fragments with Us Forever” (#Parasha: Weekly Insights for a Leading Israeli Journalist, trans. Chava Wilschanski, Menorah Books, Jerusalem, 2017, pp. 273-4), she begins by citing a verse from the Parashat HaShavua:

Devarim 10:1

At that time the LORD Said unto me: Hew thee two tablets of stone like unto the first and come up unto Me into the mount; and make thee an Ark of wood.

Continue reading

What does “Eikev” Really Mean?

What does “Eikev” Really Mean 7 27 21

Reading “Eikev” according to the Peshat.

In R. Binyamin Lau’s 2008 essay in HaAretz on Parashat Eikev, “Lo BeChevra Shofechet Dam” ( לא בחברה שופכת דם; פרשת “עקב” – ספרים – הארץ (haaretz.co.il) ), he notes that while RaShI and commentators who accept his approach, view the word “Eikev” as representative of a portion of the human “foot”:

Devarim 7:12 “And if you do obey these rules and observe them carefully, the LORD your God will maintain faithfully for you the covenant that He made on oath with your fathers.”

RaShI

AND THE CONSEQUENCE WILL BE, IF YE HEARKEN (The Hebrew text may be taken to signify if you will hear the heel, “Eikev) — If, even the lighter Commands, which a person usually treads on with his heels (i.e. which a person is inclined to treat lightly), ye will hearken to.

Continue reading

One’s Conception of God is Dependent upon How One Relates to Other Human Beings

One’s Conception of God is Dependent upon How One Relates to Other Human Beings 7 26 21

In R. David Silverberg’s Motzoai Shabbat 2017 Devar Tora for Parashat Eikev ( SALT – Parashat Ekev 5777 / 2017 | Yeshivat Har Etzion   ), he focusses his attention on Moshe’s warning to the Jewish people that once they enter the Promised Land and successfully manage their lands to produce plentiful crops, there is a likelihood that they will forget God, and all that He has Done to help them reach such a positive situation:

Devarim 8:11-7

11 Beware lest thou forget the LORD thy God, in not keeping His Commandments, and His Ordinances, and His Statutes, which I command thee this day; 12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art satisfied, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14 “VeRam Levavecha” (and thy heart become haughty), and thou forget the LORD thy God, Who Brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; 15 Who Led thee through the great and dreadful wilderness, wherein were serpents, fiery serpents, and scorpions, and thirsty ground where was no water; Who Brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; 16 Who Fed thee in the wilderness with Manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might Afflict thee, and that He might Prove thee, to Do thee Good at thy latter end; 17 And thou say in thy heart: My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth.

Continue reading

Addressing the Nation Rather than Individuals

Addressing the Nation Rather than Individuals 7 25 21

The Jews are told by Moshe to believe their eyes.

In R. Yair Kahn’s 2017 Devar Tora for Parashat Eikev on the VBM website of Yeshivat Har Etzion, “Parashat Eikev: For Your Eyes Only?” (Parashat Ekev: For Your Eyes Only? | Yeshivat Har Etzion ), he notes how in Sefer Devarim, Moshe mentions more than anywhere else in the Tora (R. Kahn points out that in the rest of the Tora, the terminology appears only a single time—Beraishit 45:12), how the Jewish people were personal witnesses to God’s many Miracles in Egypt as well as during their journey across the wilderness:

Devarim 1:30

The LORD your God who Goeth before you, He shall Fight for you, according to all that He Did for you in Egypt before your eyes.”

Continue reading

Parashat Eikev (Devarim 7:12-11:25) – Questions for Consideration and Discussion II

questions-ii

Rishon: (Devarim 7:12-8:10)

(v. 22) The Tora justifies the slow conquest of the Promised Land due to concern that if there would be a more rapid takeover, wild animals would run rampant. Explain such a fear.

See MaLBIM, who states that HaShem had Made a similar Promise earlier (Shemot 23:29) and that He would Take a “Goldilocks” Approach, i.e., not too fast and not too slow, but a rate of conquest that would be “just right.”

Sheini: (Ibid. 11-9:3)

(v. 17) The verse describes the irreligious attitude on the part of the Jewish people when they rely on themselves for food and produce and think that they are victorious against their enemies due to their own abilities. V. 18 is a statement by God Countering such a claim. Why should this be considered sufficient to refute those who wish to take all the credit for themselves?

See RaMBaN on v. 18 who asserts that by remembering the Exodus and the period of wandering in the wilderness, the great dependency that the people experienced should suffice to put to rest delusions of grandeur and self-reliance.

Continue reading

Are Jews “Few” or “Many”?

Are Jews “Few” or “Many” 7 23 21

An apparent contradiction in the numbers of Jews that there actually are.

In R. Jonathan Sacks’ 2019 Devar Tora for Parashast VaEtchanan, “Why is the Jewish People So Small?” ( Why Is The Jewish People So Small? (Va’etchanan 5779) – Rabbi Sacks ), he wonders about the “disconnect” between, on the one hand, the verse in the Parashat HaShavua:

Devarim 7:7

The Lord did not Set His Affection on you and Choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you are the fewest of all peoples

and the numerous promises and assessments of how the Jews would be/were “uncountable,” i.e., incredibly prolific and of infinite magnitude: e.g.,

Continue reading

Parsing the Experience at Sinai and the Exodus in Different Ways

Parsing the Experience at Sinai and the Exodus in Different Ways 7 22 21

Reading closely the presentation of the unique nature of God.

In R. Amnon Bazak’s third essay for Parashat VaEtchanan, “HaRayot LeYichud HaShem” (Nekudat Peticha: Iyunim Ketzarim BePeshuta Shel Parashat HaShavua, [revised and expanded], Yediot Acharonot, Rishon LeTziyon, 2018, pp. 392-3), he discusses a section of the Parashat HaShavua devoted to the uniqueness of HaShem, Who in turn has Tried to Make the Jewish people unique as a result of two specific interactions with them, which appears repetitive:

Devarim 4:32-40

32 For ask now of the days past, which were before thee, since the day that God Created man upon the earth, and from the one end of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? 33 Did ever a people hear the Voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? 34 Or hath God Assayed to Go and Take Him a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a Mighty Hand, and by an Outstretched Arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God Did for you in Egypt before thine eyes? 35 Unto thee it was shown, that thou mightest know that the LORD, He Is God; there is none else beside Him.  

Continue reading

The Jewish People Requested Prophets as a Result of the Revelation at Sinai

The Jewish People Requested Prophets as a Result of the Revelation at Sinai 7 21 21

Fleshing out the stories in the earlier portions of the Tora with Moshe’s recollections in Devarim.

In Sivan Rahav-Meir’s third brief essay on Parashat VaEtchanan, “The Moment After” (#Parasha: Weekly Insights for a Leading Israeli Journalist, trans. Chava Wilschanski, Menorah Books, Jerusalem, 2017, pp. 269-70), she notes that to get a full picture of the events that are recorded previously in the Tora, their rendition in the book of Devarim over the course of Moshe’s valedictory address prior to his death, is important.

Continue reading