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Home » Ekev

Eikev: Food for Thought for Your Dinner Table

Submitted by on August 17, 2008 – 2:49 amNo Comment | 1,441 views

Sunday: The individual

“You should observe and fulfill every Mitzvah that I command you today so that you may all live, multiply, arrive and inherit the land that I promised to your forefathers.” This verse begins with an exhortation to the individual, but concludes with a blessing to the nation. This teaches us that even one Mitzvah carried out by one individual tips the scales of justice for the entire world. As King Solomon noted, “`the righteous one is the foundation of the world.” `Kli Yakar

Monday: Torah and Israel

“Hear O’ Israel, you are passing through the Jordan river today … to inherit great nations, mightier than you.” Once again we note that this verse is structured in the singular, rather than in the plural. This teaches us that we inherit the land of Israel in the merit of Jewish unity. Only when we are united as one are we worthy of inheriting our land. Indeed, our sages taught that the second temple was destroyed in punishment of Jewish divisiveness. It follows that friendship and unity strengthen our possession of the Holy Land. Taam Vodaas

Tuesday: Vanishing Letters

Moshe retold the experience of descending the mountain and beholding the golden calf. At that moment, said Moshe, “I grasped the two tablets and cast them from my hands.” The tablets were already in his hands as he descended the mountain, why did he suddenly grasp them at that time?

The tablets were given to Moshe from heaven. They did not require a human to carry them, they carried themselves. However, the moment Moshe beheld the golden calf the tablets lost their celestial charm.  As the Jerusalem Talmud notes, when Moshe saw the calf he noticed that the Divine letters fled the tablets and returned to heaven. Bereft of the letters carved by G-d, the tablets no longer carried themselves and would have fallen had Moshe not grasped them. Toras Moseh – Alshich

Wednesday: Special Days

Moshe established the tradition of reading the torah on Monday and Thursday. Why did he choose these days? The Torah was given on the sixth of Sivan. On Sivan 7, Moshe climbed Mount Sinai and remained there for forty days. He descended with the tablets on Tamuz 17, but shattered them when he saw the golden calf. We know that Tamuz 17 fell on a Thursday that year because Tamuz 17 always falls on the same day as the first day of Passover and the Talmud tells us that the exodus from Egypt occurred on a Thursday.

Moshe was on the mountain for another forty days and descended on Av 28, whereupon he carved out two new tablets and carried them aloft the next day, Av 29. He remained there for forty more days and descended with the second set of tablets on Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur fell on a Monday that year. We know this because the third day of Passover fell on Shabbos that year and Rosh Hashana always falls on the same day as third day of Passover. Yom Kippur, ten days later, fell on Monday.

It follows that the first set of tablets were brought down on a Thursday and the second set on a Monday. No wonder Moshe chose those two days of the week for Torah reading. Daas Zekeinim

Thursday: The Moshe Within

“Now Israel, what does G-d. . . want from you, but to fear [Him].” Why does this verse intimate that fear of G-d is easily attained when it is in fact a most difficult achievement? The Talmud explains that for Moshe fear of G-d was easily attained. The question, however, persists. Why did Moshe intimate that fear of G-d would be easily attained by the masses?

 This is because we each have a spark of Moshe in our souls. On some level, Moshe sustains our faith and feeds us with inspiration to love and fear G-d. With these words Moshe gave us the capacity to fear G-d. Now that we are empowered all that is left is to follow through. Tanya

Friday: enthusiastic Observance

Our sages taught that the first portion of the Shema revolves around the yoke of G-d’s kingdom, whereas the second portion speaks of the yoke of G-d’s commandments. Why do we separate the two? Are we not already obliged to obey His commandments the moment we accept His sovereignty?

There are two modes of observance, one is out of obedience, the other is out of love and joy. It is G-d’s desire that we obey His commandments because He commanded them and that is reflected in the first portion of the Shema. He also wants us to desire His Mitzvos and to fulfill them with loving enthusiasm, which is the theme of the second portion of the Shema. Derash Moshe

Shabbat: In This World

Observing the Divine commandments draws us closer to G-d, the Commander. In fact every Mitzvah draws us closer to G-d than we were before. Yet, despite the relative ease with which we draw close to G-d in this world, it is not possible to draw closer to G-d in the world to come. In the world to come we are confined to the relationship we have with G-d on the day we arrive. Improvement or growth is not possible.

When we arrive in heaven we are made to account for our behaviour during our lifetime and are then assigned a position in heaven consistent with our accomplishments on earth. We can grow after a fashion, but we cannot make the leaps and bounds that are available to us in this world through the Mitzvos. In other words, the time to develop our relationship with G-d through Torah and MItzvos is now, if we tarry it can be too late. Chafetz Chaim

 

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