Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ekev Summary

Note:The events mentioned in this Torah reading are not listed in chronological order.

Moshe tells the nation that G-d promises blessing, health and prosperity if they observe and safeguard His commandments. He urges the Israelites not to fear the nations who inhabit the Land of Israel because G-d will cause them to flee before the Israelites when they enter into the land. In the same way that G-d miraculously brought them out of Egypt, He will also bring them miraculously into Israel. Moshe warns them to destroy all the idols and temples that they find when they arrive in Israel, lest these idols become a snare and they are seduced into idol worship.
Moshe reminds the nation of the miracles which G-d performed for them during the forty years in the Sinai desert; their food fell from the heavens, their clothes never wore out, and their feet did not become tired from walking. Similarly when they enter the Land of Israel G-d will provide for all their needs; the land is rich in crops and water and minerals. However with prosperity comes the danger that the Jews may turn their backs on G-d and ignore His commandments. Moshe warns the Jews that if they abuse the provisions that G-d gives them, they will perish and not enjoy the benefits. He tells them that the miracles that they will witness when they enter the Land of Israel will not be in their own merit. Rather they are part of the covenant which G-d made with the patriarchs Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov.
Moshe tells the Jews that they must constantly remember that even when they were standing at Mount Sinai and about to receive the Two Tablets of Law, they rebelled against G-d and built the Golden Calf. G-d told Moshe that He would destroy the entire nation for their sin, and create a new nation from Moshe's descendants. Moshe pleaded with G-d and averted the decree. Moshe descended Mount Sinai, saw the Golden Calf and smashed the tablets that he was holding. Then he returned to the top of the mountain and prayed that G-d should forgive the nation. Moshe also ground up the gold from the idol and threw it into a brook.
Moshe reminds the people that they also sinned when they listened to the evil report of the spies who had been sentin to Israel, and the people refused to enter into the land. After G-d forgave the Jews He instructed Moshe to hew two new tablets and once again ascend Mount Sinai. G-d once again wrote the Ten Commandments on these stones and gave them to Moshe who placed them in a temporary ark.
Moshe retells Aharon's death, and how his son Eliezer took over his father's position as High Priest. G-d separated for Himself the tribe of Levi to minister in the Temple. Because of this they do not receive a portion in the Land of Israel.
Moshe tells the people of Israel what G-d demands of them - to fear and to love G-d, and to follow in His ways. Though everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to G-d, He chose to have a special relationship with the patriarchs. Therefore the Jews are entrusted with keeping all His commandments and decrees. They witnessed the miracles that occurred when G-d brought them out of Egypt, and all the miracles that accompanied them in the desert.
If the Jews observe these laws they will prolong their days in the Land of Israel, and it will be a prosperous country. If they observe all the commandments they will prosper and G-d will give them the material things that they need to better serve Him. If they ignore His instructions they will not be successful and we will eventually be banished from the Land of Israel. This portion ends with the commandments of Tefillin and Mezuzah.

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