Torah Weekly - Parshat Eikev

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Parshat Eikev

For the week ending 18 Av 5760 / 18 & 19 August 2000

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    If Bnei Yisrael carefully observe even those "minor" mitzvot that are usually "trampled" underfoot, Moshe promises them that they will be the most blessed of the nations of earth. Moshe tells Bnei Yisrael that they will conquer Eretz Canaan little by little, so that the land will not be overrun by wild animals in the hiatus before Bnei Yisrael are able to organize and settle the whole land. After again warning Bnei Yisrael to burn all carved idols of Canaanite gods, Moshe stresses that the Torah is indivisible and not open to partial observance. Moshe describes the Land of Israel as a land of wheat, barley, grapes, figs, and pomegranates, a land of oil-yielding olives and date-honey. Moshe cautions Bnei Yisrael not to become haughty and think that their success in Eretz Yisrael is a result of their own powers or vigor; rather, it was Hashem who gave them wealth and success. Nor did Hashem drive out the Canaanites because of Bnei Yisrael's righteousness, but rather because of the sins of the Canaanites; for the road from Sinai had been a catalogue of large and small sins and rebellions against Hashem and Moshe. Moshe details the events after Hashem spoke the 10 Commandments at Sinai, culminating in his bringing down the second set of Tablets on Yom Kippur. Aharon's passing is recorded as is the elevation of the levi'im to Hashem's ministers. Moshe points out that the 70 souls who went down to Egypt have now become like the stars of the heaven in abundance. After specifying the great virtues of the Land of Israel, Moshe speaks the second paragraph of the Shema, conceptualizing the blessings that accompany keeping mitzvot and the curse that results from non-observance.




    "For Man does not live on bread alone, rather
    on all that comes from the mouth of Hashem man lives" (8:3).

    How is it possible for the soul whose very essence is spiritual to be sustained by something as physical as food?

    In reality, the universe exists only as a result of the power of Hashem's original utterance at the time of Creation (as it says in Psalms, "By the word of Hashem, the heavens were created�"). It is this same power of Hashem's word wrapped inside the food which nourishes the soul. When a Jew takes an apple and says a blessing on it, he awakens the latent spiritual power implanted in the fruit at the time of the Creation of the world. This is the real soul-food!

    Adapted from The Arizal


    Yeshaya 49:14 - 51:3



    No matter how far the Jewish people fall from favor, they can never lose their status as Hashem's Chosen People. That is the underlying theme of Parshat Eikev and its haftara. This is the second of the seven Parshiot of consolation after Tisha B'Av. This haftara is the source of the famous phrase "light unto the nations." Yeshaya tells the Jewish People that despite the terrible tragedies and hardships of exile, he does not despair -- he knows that the end of the exile is coming. And so he pleads with his contemporaries and all of their offspring throughout all the generations to remember that they are the children of Avraham and Sarah, and that Hashem will surely comfort them.

    Written and Compiled by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair
    General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
    Production Design: Michael Treblow

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