Torah Mitzion shlichim
Torah Mitzion shlichimHezki Ezra

Parshat Eikev

Parshat Eikev contains the transition of Moshe’s speech from Mussar and history to listing many of the commandments which need to be followed in Eretz Yisrael in order to stay in the land. Before the list starts, Moshe makes an enigmatic statement:” And now, O Israel, what does your God demand of you? Only this: to revere your God, to walk only in divine paths, to love and to serve your God with all your heart and soul, keeping His commandments and laws, which I enjoin upon you today, for your good.” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13). Is it really as simple as Moshe makes it sound to keep all the Mitzvoth and serve God properly?

The Sforno sees these verses as connected to the previous speech, which recounted the sins of the generation of the desert. If this new generation wants to avoid the mistakes of their forefathers, they need to focus on God’s ways. That will lead to fear of God, which will lead to recognizing God’s greatness, which will further lead to loving God. Once the nation has reached that level, they will sin no more and therefore be rewarded.

The Sefer HaChinuch understands this statement as explaining the purpose of the mitzvoth. The end of the verse is the key- all of the mitzvoth are not for God’s sake but they are an opportunity to reward man. He quotes these verses in Mitzvah 95, the commandment to build a House for God. There he proves that just as God “doesn’t require your commandments, except out of His love for you, and for your merit”, so too God does not require a house and sacrifices for His needs. Rather, “He commanded us to fix a place that would be pure and completely clean to purify the thoughts of people there and to refine their [our] hearts towards Him in it.” The service in the Beit Hamikdash is the prototype of all the mitzvoth, an opportunity for us to connect to our creator and to be rewarded.

For a generation that has trouble understanding the purpose the of the mitzvoth in their lives, Torah Mitzion Kollels do vital work, trying to reconnect the Jewish people to God’s greatness. May the upcoming shlichim be blessed to succeed in their mission and contribute to the nation of Israel. Bezrat Hashem we should all be rewarded with the building of the Beit Hamikdash speedily in our time.

Elana Jackson is a friend of Torah MiTzion, is currently Head Nurse of “Shekel” Jerusalem (Inclusion for people with Disabilities) and the proud mother of a bachur of the Montreal Kollel, 2023-2024