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Moses appointed twelve emissaries to scout out the Holy Land and return with a report. The representative for the tribe of Ephraim was Moses’ primary disciple, Joshua. Until this time, the lad’s name was Oshua. But Moses added a letter to his name and called him Joshua.
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Home » Ekev

Eikev: A Question of Emphasis

Submitted by on July 30, 2006 – 4:25 amNo Comment | 2,402 views

Shema and Shabbat

The Midrash in this week’s Parsha quotes an interesting argument between Rabbi Levi and the sages as to the primacy of mitzvot. Rabbi Levi felt that the recitation of Shema is the primary Mitzvah. The sages felt that observing the Shabbat is primary.
We can understand their difference of opinion in the following manner. The difference between Shabbat and Shema is that Shabbat is a holy day even if we don’t observe it. Shema, on the other hand, is created by our performance. If we recite the Shema it becomes reality, if we don’t it is merely a concept. Shema is an action, Shabbat is a period in time.

G-d and Me

The question is one of emphasis, where do we place the emphasis of a Mitzvah? Is it on our decision to perform the Mitzvah or is it on the fact that G-d has allowed us the opportunity to perform it? Is it an offering to G-d by the Jew or a offering to the Jew by G-d?

In conclusion

Both elements exist in every Mitzvah and in their own way both are equally important. It is our duty to contemplate this matter on a personal level so that we can be conscious of our contribution to G-d and to ourselves every time we perform a Mitzvah.

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