Parsha – Eikev

Shabbat is coming in about 3 hours and I am in somewhat of a hurry. This is a very, very interesting portion containing much wisdom and plenty of insight into how the world works according to our creator. I will try to convey the Parsha as I understand it. Eikev is the Parsha of Devarim {Deuteronomy} 7:12-11:25.

The Parsha starts with Hashems promises of divine providence for the Jewish people. He promises that we will not suffer the plagues and illnesses which we suffered in Mitzrayim {Egypt}. He promises that our people will not lack any good AS LONG AS we keep our side of the bargain. Our covenant with Hashem involves our fidelity to him, not worshiping false gourds or Idols. As it is written:

12. And it will be, because you will heed these ordinances and keep them and perform, that the L-rd, your G-d, will keep for you the covenant and the kindness that He swore to your forefathers. 13. And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your soil, your grain, your wine, and your oil, the offspring of your cattle and the choice of your flocks, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you. 14. You shall be blessed above all peoples: There will be no sterile male or barren female among you or among your livestock. 15. And the L-rd will remove from you all illness, and all of the evil diseases of Egypt which you knew, He will not set upon you, but He will lay them upon all your enemies. 16. And you shall consume all the peoples which the L-rd your G-d gives you; you shall not spare them, nor shall you worship their gods, for that will be a snare for you. 17. Will you say to yourself, “These nations are more numerous than I; how will I be able to drive them out”? 18. You shall not fear them. You shall surely remember what the L-rd, your G-d, did to Pharaoh and to all of Egypt: 19. The great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm with which the L-rd, your G-d, brought you out. So will the L-rd, Your G-d, do to all the peoples you fear. 20. And also the tzir’ah, the L-rd, your G-d, will incite against them, until the survivors and those who hide from you perish. 21. You shall not be terrified of them, for the L-rd, your G-d, Who is in your midst, is a great and awesome G-d. 22. And the L-rd, your G-d, will drive out those nations from before you, little by little. You will not be able to destroy them quickly, lest the beasts of the field outnumber you. 23. But the Lrd, your G-d, will deliver them to you, and He will confound them with great confusion, until they are destroyed. 24. And He will deliver their kings into your hand, and you will destroy their name from beneath the heavens; no man will be able to stand up before you, until you have destroyed them. 25. The graven images of their gods you will burn with fire; you shall not covet the silver or gold that is upon them and take it for yourself, lest you be ensnared by it, for it is an abomination to the L-rd, your G-d. 26. Nor should you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be are to be destroyed like it, but you shall utterly detest it, and you shall utterly abhor it; for it is to be destroyed.

It is interesting to note that Hashem is referred to as YOUR G-D several times in this Aliyah. This is because in Judaism Hashem is a personal G-d, one who is in tune with each and every Jews soul. How could G-d be a personal G-d to all of the Jews? This is because the Jewish nation can be considered a single soul. Hashem is our personal and our national protector.

The next aliyah continues with the promise that if the Jews keep the commandments he will give us a land flowing with milk and honey. The promised land of Israel is portrayed in glowing terms. This aliyah continues into Chapter 8:

1. Every commandment that I command you this day you shall keep to do, that you may live and multiply, and come and possess the land that the L-rd swore to your forefathers. 2. And you shall remember the entire way on which the L-rd, your G-d, led you these forty years in the desert, in order to afflict you to test you, to know what is in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3. And He afflicted you and let you go hungry, and then fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your forefathers know, so that He would make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but rather by, whatever comes forth from the mouth of the L-rd does man live. 4. Your clothing did not wear out upon you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. 5. You shall know in your heart, that just as a man chastises his son, so does the L-rd, your G-d, chastise you. 6. And you shall keep the commandments of the L-rd your G-d, to go in His ways, and to fear Him. 7. For the L-rd your G-d is bringing you to a good land, a land with brooks of water, fountains and depths, that emerge in valleys and mountains, 8. a land of wheat and barley, vines and figs and pomegranates, a land of oil producing olives and honey, 9. a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, you will lack nothing in it, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose mountains you will hew copper. 10. And you will eat and be sated, and you shall bless the L-rd, your G-d, for the good land He has given you.

In this Aliyah we learn that Hashem chastises his children with trials and tribulations. He let the people go hungry in the desert so they would appreciate the fact that they were sustained for 40 years in the desert with the miraculous manna which fell from heaven. We are also reminded of the miracle that their shoes and clothes did not wear out over the 40 years in the desert. The famous quote “Man does not live by bread alone, but rather by, whatever comes from the mouth of the L-rd does man live.”.

The second aliyah continues with admonishment to the Jewish people. We must remember that ALL is from HIS will and not our own. Hashem reminds us of his great mercy and his love of the Jewish people. The second aliyah starts:

11. Beware that you do not forget the L-rd, your G-d, by not keeping His commandments, His ordinances, and His statutes, which I command you this day, 12. lest you eat and be sated, and build good houses and dwell therein, 13. and your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold increase, and all that you have increases, 14. and your heart grows haughty, and you forget the L-rd, your G-d, Who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, 15. Who led you through that great and awesome desert, [in which were] snakes, vipers and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought water for you out of solid rock, 16. Who fed you with manna in the desert, which your forefathers did not know, in order to afflict you and in order to test you, to benefit you in your end, 17. and you will say to yourself, “My strength and the might of my hand that has accumulated this wealth for me.” 18. But you must remember the L-rd your G-d, for it is He that gives you strength to make wealth, in order to establish His covenant which He swore to your forefathers, as it is this day. 19. And it will be, if you forget the L-rd your G-d and follow other gods, and worship them, and prostrate yourself before them, I bear witness against you this day, that you will surely perish. 20. As the nations that the L-rd destroys before you, so will you perish; since you will not obey the L-rd your G-d.


Chapter 9
1. Hear, O Israel: Today, you are crossing the Jordan to come in to possess nations greater and stronger than you, great cities, fortified up to the heavens. 2. A great and tall people, the children of the ‘Anakim, whom you know and of whom you have heard said, “Who can stand against the children of ‘Anak?!” 3. You shall know this day, that it is the L-rd your G-d Who passes over before you as a consuming fire He will destroy them, and He will subdue them before you; and you shall drive out them and destroy them quickly, as the L-rd spoke to you.

In the second Aliyah we learn to not ascribe our success to our own deeds. Lines 16-17 which read “Who fed you manna in the desert which your forefathers did not know, in order to afflict you and in order to test you, to benefit you in your end, and you will say to yourself “My strength and the might of my hand that has accumulated this wealth for me.”.

Often times, when things are good for us, we forget that all is from G-ds will and we think we are mighty and strong. Even in good times one must remember that Hashem is the master of all, and we should not ascribe our own greatness for the success. We are born into this world and do not control the circumstances. Some are born rich and some are born poor, some are born tall and some are born short. Each Jew is born to different circumstances which are not in our control. We must use what we have to make ourselves better.

The Third Aliyah is a long one. Hashem recalls the exodus of the Jewish nation from the belly of the evil Egypt. Hashem also explains that we were not redeemed because we were especially righteous. In fact Hashem calls the Jewish people “A Stiffnecked people” and reminds us that only because of the wickedness of our enemies and his promise to our patriarchs {Abraham, Isaac, & Joseph} were we redeemed.

The Aliyah begins:

4. Do not say to yourself, when the L-rd, your G-d, has repelled them from before you, saying, “Because of my righteousness, the L-rd has brought me to possess this land,” and [that] because of the wickedness of these nations, the L-rd drives them out from before you. 5. Not because of your righteousness or because of the honesty of your heart, do you come to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations, the L-rd your G-d drives them out from before you, and in order to establish the matter that the L-rd swore to your forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 6. You shall know that, not because of your righteousness, the L-rd, your G-d, gives you this land to possess it; for you are a stiffnecked people. 7. Remember do not forget, how you angered the L-rd, your G-d, in the desert; from the day that you went out of the land of Egypt, until you came to this place, you have been rebelling against the L-rd. 8. At Horeb, you angered the L-rd, and the L-rd was incensed with you to destroy you. 9. When I ascended the mountain to receive the stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant which the L-rd made with you, I remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water; 10. and the L-rd gave me two stone tablets, inscribed by the finger of G-d, and on them was [inscribed] according to all the words that the L-rd spoke with you on the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. 11. And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the L-rd gave me two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant. 12. And the L-rd said to me, “Arise, descend quickly from here, for your people whom you have brought out of Egypt have become corrupt; they have quickly deviated from the way which I commanded them; they have made for themselves a molten image.” 13. And the L-rd spoke to me [further], saying, “I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people. 14. Leave Me alone, and I will destroy them and obliterate their name from beneath the heavens, and I will make you into a nation mightier and more numerous than they.” 15. So I turned and came down from the mountain, and the mountain was burning with fire, and the two tablets of the covenant were on my two hands. 16. And I saw, and behold, you had sinned against the L-rd, your G-d; you had made yourselves a molten calf; you had deviated quickly from the way which the L-rd had commanded you. 17. So I grasped the two tablets, cast them out of my two hands, and shattered them before your eyes. 18. And I fell down before the L-rd as before, forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sins you had committed, by doing evil in the eyes of the L-rd to anger Him. 19. For I was frightened of the wrath and the fury that the L-rd was angry with you to destroy you, and the L-rd hearkened to me also at that time. 20. And with Aaron, the L-rd was very furious, to destroy him; so I prayed also for Aaron at that time. 21. And I took your sin the calf, which you had made, and I burned it with fire, and I crushed it, grinding it well, until it was fine dust, and I cast its dust into the brook that descends from the mountain. 22. And at Tav’erah, and at Massah, and at Kivroth Hata’avah, you provoked the L-rd to anger. 23. And when the L-rd sent you from Kadesh Barnea, saying, “Go up and possess the land I have given you,” you defied the word of the L-rd your G-d, and you did not believe Him, nor did you obey Him. 24. You have been rebelling against the L-rd since the day I became acquainted with you. 25. So I fell down before the L-rd the forty days and the forty nights that I had fallen down; because the L-rd had said to destroy you. 26. And I prayed to the L-rd and said, “O L-rd G-d, do not destroy Your people and Your inheritance, which You have redeemed in Your greatness, and which You have brought out of Egypt with mighty hand. 27. Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; do not turn to the stubbornness of this people, to their wickedness, or to their sin.28. Lest [the people of] the land from which you brought us out will say, ‘Because of the L-rd’s inability to bring them to the land about which He spoke to them, and because of His hatred toward them, He has brought them out to slay them in the desert.’ 29. But they are Your people and Your inheritance, which You brought out with Your great strength and with Your outstretched arm.”

Wow… Hashem and Moshe are driving home the point that our people have strayed and rebelled against the Holy One, Blessed is he. He recalls two of the mighty sins our forefathers did in the desert. He recalls the sin of the Golden Calf {Chet HaEigel} and the sin of the Spies {Chet HaMeraglim}. Only because of the merit of our patriarchs were we spared from Hashems wrath, which was utter destruction of the Jewish nation in the desert.

Moshe implored the L-rd to save us because to kill us would have been a desecration of his name. As the Parsha reads, “Lest the people of the land from which your brought us out will say, ‘Because of the L-rds inability to bring them to the land about which he spoke to them, and because of this hatred toward them, he has brought them out to slay them in the desert'”.

The Fourth Aliyah is a short one. It continues with the narrative at Mount Sinai, after the sin of the Calf. It was after Moshes prayers when Hashem gave us the second set of Tablets. It continues:

10:1. At that time, the L-rd said to me, “Hew for yourself two stone tablets like the first ones and come up to Me onto the mountain, and make for yourself a wooden ark, 2. And I shall inscribe on the tablets the words that were upon the first tablets which you shattered and you shall place them into the ark. 3. So I made an ark of acacia wood, and I hewed two stone tablets like the first ones, and I ascended the mountain, with the two tablets in my hand. 4. And He inscribed on the tablets, like the first writing, the Ten Commandments, which the L-rd had spoken to you on the mountain, from the midst of the fire, on the day of the assembly, and the L-rd gave them to me. 5. And I turned and came down from the mountain, and placed the tablets in the ark which I had made, and there they were, as the L-rd had commanded me. 6. The children of Israel journeyed from the wells of B’nei Ya’akan to Moserah; there Aaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son served as kohen in his stead. 7. From there, they journeyed to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Yotvath, a land with streams of water. 8. At that time, the L-rd separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the L-rd, to stand before the L-rd to serve Him, and to bless in His Name, to this day. 9. Therefore, Levi has no portion or inheritance with his brothers; the L-rd is his inheritance, as the L-rd, your G-d spoke to him. 10. And I remained on the mountain like the first days forty days and forty nights, and the L-rd hearkened to me also at that time; the L-rd did not wish to destroy you. 11. And the L-rd said to me, “Arise, go to lead the travels before the people, so that they may come and possess the land I promised their forefathers to give them.

The Fifth portion is very moving. It starts with a question and an answer. Any Jew may ask what the L-rd wants from us. Let us read:

12. And now, O Israel, what does the L-rd, your G-d, demand of you? Only to fear the L-rd, your G-d, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, and to worship the L-rd, your G-d, with all your heart and with all your soul, 13. to keep the commandments of the L-rd and His statutes, which I command you this day, for your good. 14. Behold, to the L-rd, your G-d, belong the heavens and the heavens of the heavens, the earth, and all that is on it. 15. Only your forefathers the L-rd desired, to love them, and He chose their seed after them you, out of all peoples, as it is this day. 16. You shall circumcise the foreskin of your heart, therefore, and be no more stiffnecked. 17. For the L-rd, your G-d, is G-d of gods and the L-rd of the lords, the great mighty and awesome G-d, Who will show no favor, nor will He take a bribe. 18. He executes the judgment of the orphan and widow, and He loves the stranger, to give him bread and clothing. 19. You shall love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 20. You shall fear the L-rd, your G-d, worship Him, and cleave to Him and swear by His Name. 21. He is your praise and He is your G-d, Who did these great and awesome things for you, which your eyes have seen. 22. With seventy souls, Your forefathers descended to Egypt, and now the L-rd, your G-d, has made you as the stars of heaven in abundance.

Chapter 11
1. [Therefore] you shall love the L-rd, your G-d, keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments, all the days. 2. And you shall know this day; that [I speak] not with your children, who did not know and who did not see the chastisement of the L-rd, your G-d, His greatness, His mighty hand, and His outstretched arm, 3. His signs, and His deeds, which He performed in the midst of Egypt, to Pharaoh, king of Egypt and to his entire land, 4. and what He did to the army of Egypt, to its steeds, and to its chariots, that He caused the waters of the Red Sea to inundate them when they pursued you, and the L-rd destroyed them, to this day, 5. and what He did for you in the desert, until you arrived at this place, 6. and what He did to Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben, that the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up and their households and their tents, and all the possessions at their feet, in the midst of all Israel. 7. But your eyes, which have seen all the great work of the L-rd, which He did. 8. [Therefore] keep all the commandments that I command you this day, in order that you may be strong and come and possess the land to which you are crossing, to possess it, 9. and in order that you may prolong your days on the land that the L-rd swore to your forefathers to give to them and to their seed a land flowing with milk and honey.

In this portion we learn of the mitzvahs concerning the orphan and the widow. Also the mitzvah of loving the stranger. Here we learn that fearing G-d is a good thing, because through fear we keep on the path of mitzvah observance. Hashem wants the Jewish people to honor him through keeping the commandments.

Hashem uses two events to reprimand the Children of Israel. Here we hear about Hashems miracles in Egypt, the splitting of the Sea of Reeds, and the evil conspiracy of Korach. It is interesting that he doesnt mention Korach by name but two of his accomplices, Dathan and Abiram.

The Sixth Portion continues in this way. Hashem also promises that if we veer from his path of commandments we will bring chaos and calamity to our people. This Parsha contains a part which is recited in our most intimate prayer, the Shema {11:13-11:21}.

Chapter 11
10. For the land to which you are coming to possess is not like the land of Egypt, out of which you came, where you sowed your seed and which you watered by foot, like a vegetable garden. 11. But the land, to which you pass to possess, is a land of mountains and valleys and absorbs water from the rains of heaven, 12. a land the L-rd, your G-d, looks after; the eyes of L-rd your G-d are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. 13. And it will be, if you hearken to My commandments that I command you this day to love the L-rd, your G-d, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14. I will give the rain of your land at its time, the early rain and the latter rain, and you will gather in your grain, your wine, and your oil. 15. And I will give grass in your field for your livestock, and you will eat and be sated. 16. Beware, lest your heart be misled, and you turn away and worship strange gods and prostrate yourselves before them. 17. And the wrath of the L-rd will be kindled against you, and He will close off the heavens, and there will be no rain, and the ground will not give its produce, and you will perish quickly from upon the good land that the L-rd gives you. 18. And you shall set these words of Mine upon your heart and upon your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand and they shall be for ornaments between your eyes. 19. And you shall teach them to your sons to speak with them, when you sit in your house and when you walk on the way and when you lie down and when you rise. 20. And you shall inscribe them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates, 21. in order that your days may increase and the days of your children, on the land which the L-rd swore to your forefathers to give them, as the days of heaven above the earth.

This parsha also contains several mitzvahs. The mitzvah of Tefillin is described as “You will bind them for a sign upon your hand and they shall be for ornaments between your eyes”. A male Jew is obligated to wrap tefillin each day which involves wrapping a box containing these words onto the arm and another box which is placed on the head. Also the mitzvah of Mezzuzah is described as “And you shall inscribe them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.”. A Mezzuzah is a box which contains this same piece of scripture which is affixed to the doorpost of a house.

The Seventh, and last, aliyah is a short one. Once again Hashem makes his promise that if we keep his commandments he will drive our enemies out from before us. We have no need to fear anyone as long as Hashem is with us.

Chapter 11
22. For if you keep all these commandments which I command you to do them, to love the L-rd, your G-d, to walk in all His ways, and to cleave to Him, 23. then the L-rd will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will possess nations greater and stronger than you. 24. Every place upon which the soles of your feet will tread, will be yours: from the desert and the Lebanon, from the river, the Euphrates River, and until the western sea, will be your boundary. 25. No man will stand up before you; the L-rd your G-d will cast the fear of you and the dread of you on all the land upon which you tread, as He spoke to you.

This Parsha is very, very strong and it is clear what Hashem is saying. The Jewish nation is a special nation in G-ds heart. Even when we have strayed from the path his love of the nation of Israel is still there. We have gone far from the path and righteousness is very hard to find in the world today. When we are redeemed we will understand the folly of our rebellion and be able to truly make teshuva {repentance/return}. May the redeemer come speedily and in our time…

muman613

INTERESTING LINKS:

Chabads Parsha W/Rashi commentary : [LINK]

Not By Bread Alone by Rabbi Beyda : [LINK]

The Special Potential For Every Jew : [LINK]

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