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Ekev 5779

Deuteronomy 7:12 -11:25

Moshe continues his discourse guaranteeing the Jewish people prosperity and good health if they follow the mitzvot, the commandments. He reminds us to look at our history and to know that we can and should trust in God. However, we should be careful so that we are not distracted by our material success, lest we forget and ignore God.

Moshe warns us against idolatry (the definition of idolatry is the belief that anything other than God has power) and against self-righteousness ("Do not say because of my virtue that God brought me to occupy this land ... but because of the wickedness of these nations that God is driving them out before you"). He then details our rebellions against God during the 40 years in the desert and the giving of the Second Tablets (Moshe broke the first Tablets containing the Ten Commandments during the sin of the Golden Calf).

This week's portion dispels a common misconception. People think that "Man does not live by bread alone" means that a person needs additional foods beyond bread to survive. The quotation in its entirety is, "Man does not live by bread alone ... but by all that comes out of God's mouth" (Deut. 8:3).

The Torah then answers a question which every human being has asked of himself: What does God want of you? "Only that you remain in awe of God your Lord, so that you will follow all His paths and love Him, serving God your Lord with all your heart and with all your soul. You must keep God's commandments and decrees ... so that all good will be yours" (Deut. 10:12).

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Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And you shall eat and be satisfied and bless the Almighty, your God, for the good land which He gave you. Guard yourself lest you forget the Lord, your God, and do not observe His commandments and His laws and His statutes which I command you this day" (Deut 8:10-11).

What lesson for life are we to learn from the juxtaposition of these two verses?

In the blessings we make after eating a meal, in addition to thanking the Almighty for the land of Israel, the Sages have included thanking Him for the Covenant with Him and for the Torah which He gave us. This ensures that we focus on a Higher level, rather just the food and materialism -- which would cause us to forget the Almighty.

Therefore, this is the lesson we learn from the juxtaposition of these two verses: If you will eat and are satisfied and bless the Almighty for just the land itself -- then (verse 11) you must be on guard not to forget the Almighty and His commandments (Chasam Sofer; Toras Moshe). When you eat in order to live and live in order to do good deeds, then your eating is elevated to a spiritual level!

There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle!

If you want happiness --
don't seek happiness.
Seek meaning.

SHABBAT SHALOM!

Sun, September 15 2019 15 Elul 5779