This week’s Parashah is Eikev – Shabbat 31 July 2021
This section begins with a promise: if the Israelites observe G‑d‘s commandments, they will be blessed in a multitude of ways, including the obliteration of their Canaanite enemies. Moses enjoins the Israelites not to fear these enemies, for G‑d will miraculously deliver them into their hands. Moses instructs the Israelites to destroy all the idols and their accoutrements which they will find in Canaan. Moses then discusses their forty-year desert ordeal, and the many tests and miracles which accompanied them. Moses provides a description of many of the wonderful features of the Land of Israel, and the Israelites are commanded to bless G‑d after they eat and are sated.
Moses admonishes the Israelites that the new-found fortune which will be their lot once they enter the Promised Land should not lead them to forget the One who provided them with the wealth. Such a blunder would lead to their destruction and ruin.
Moses tells the Israelites that they will inherit the Land of Israel not due to their own merits and righteousness, but because of the promise G‑d made to the Patriarchs. In fact, Moses reminds them of the many times they angered G‑d while in the desert, placing special emphasis on the sin of the Golden Calf, when G‑d would have annihilated the Israelites if not for Moses’ successful intercession on their behalf. He also makes brief reference to the other times when the Israelites rebelled against G‑d.
Moses recounts how after the Golden Calf debacle, G‑d commanded him to carve two new tablets upon which G‑d engraved the Ten Commandments, to replace the first set of tablets which Moses had shattered. At that time, G‑d also designated the Levites to be His holy servants, because of the devotion they demonstrated throughout the Golden Calf incident.
Moses charges the Israelites to love and fear G‑d, and to serve Him. He expounds on G‑d’s greatness, and impresses on the Israelites their great fortune: that G‑d has chosen them to be His treasured nation. He again reminds them of the many miracles G‑d had performed on their behalf since they left Egypt.
Moses tells the Israelites that the land of Israel is constantly dependent upon G‑d for irrigating rains, and that the land is constantly under G‑d’s watchful eyes. We then read the second paragraph of the Shema prayer. In this section we are admonished to observe G‑d’s commandments, which will cause G‑d to supply bountiful rainfall and harvests. Non-observance will lead to exile. We are commanded regarding prayer, tefillin, mezuzah, and teaching Torah to our children.
Moses informs the Israelites that if they follow G‑d’s ways and cleave to Him, they will easily occupy the land of Israel, and no man will stand up against them.