<I>Ekev</I>: Why the Jewish People?

Very sobering words.

Aloh Naaleh,

Judaism לבן ריק
לבן ריק
Arutz 7
In parashat Ekev, Moshe Rabbeinu informs the Jewish people that God has chosen them to inherit the Land of Israel not because they are worthy of that prize, but rather because of the evil of those who presently inhabit the land, and because of the merit of the Patriarchs and the oath made to them.

These are very sobering words, to say the least. Moreover, they seem to contradict the message delivered to us by Moshe Rabbeinu in last week's parasha. There, we were told that we were chosen not because of our great size, but rather because God loves us. The implication is that God chose us for our "quality," not for our "quantity." This certainly implies that, qualitatively, we are worthy and that this worthiness expresses itself in the spiritual realm.

The Ramban resolves this difficulty in his commentary to parashat Va'etchanan. There,
The Ramban resolves this difficulty.
he explains that the Jewish people always exist on two planes. One is the Jewish people at any particular point in history. Sometimes we are worthy, sometimes we are not - all depending on the religious and spiritual level achieved by the particular generation.

But there is another plane on which we exist called Knesset Israel. This is the totality of the Jewish people in all times, the past, the present and the future, including the Patriarchs, the Matriarchs, and the righteous of all generations. The Jewish people-eternal are always worthy qualitatively and truly merit inheriting Eretz Israel.

Our goal must always be to make the Jewish people of our own generation as similar as possible to Knesset Israel, the Jewish people-eternal. 

The foregoing commentary was distributed by the Aloh Naaleh organization.
Rabbi Menachem Schrader came on Aliyah with his wife and two children in August 1981, Menachem Av 5741. Since September 1982, he has been teaching at Yeshivat HaMivtar. Since 1998, he has been the rabbi of Congregation Tiferet Avot in Efrat. He is on the directorate of the Jewish Learning Initiative.