Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Ekev
To dedicate this lesson

The Orders for Our Borders


Rabbi Stewart Weiss

Av 21 5779
Parshat Ekev is very special to me. It is my Bar Mitzva sedra – sort of. According to my 13th (Hebrew) birthday, I should have been Bar-Mitzvahed on Parshat Pinchas. But my grandfather had passed away 11 months earlier, & so our Rav – Rav David Lieberman shlit"a, today the venerable chief rabbi of Antwerp, who taught me my sedra – suggested that the Bar Mitzva be postponed until after the aveilut, so the celebration could be a complete one. And so I identify with both parshiyot; I like to think that I have inherited both some of Pinchas’ activism & G-d directed energy, as well as an uncompromising love for Israel, as Ekev is known as "parshat Eretz Yisrael."

Being privileged to live here in Israel, so many of the blessings & promises in the sedra come to life every day. Hashem says, "There will be no infertility among you;" & while that may not (yet) be 100% fulfilled, Israel has the largest number of multiple-births per capita of any country, with free, unlimited fertility treatments. G-d says that "sickness will be removed from you;" & Israel is a leader in cutting-edge (no pun intended) medical advances, the latest being a nano-vaccine to prevent melanoma, & an advance-warning mechanism for detecting Parkinson’s.

We are told "kings will be delivered into our hands," & the kings of Jordan & Saudi Arabia can testify to that. We are assured that no nation, no matter how large or seemingly invincible, will be able to stand against us & defeat us. B"H that promise has sustained us throughout 7 wars. The sedra also tells of the great bounty that will be showered upon Israel, represented by the 7 Minim & also by the abundance of water that will flow here. Well, a walk through Shuk HaCarmel or Machane Yehuda reveals, in living color, just how prolific & plentiful our food supply is. And as for water? Our desalination technology gives us plenty of that; & now we can even produce water out of the air, thanks to Israeli start-up WaterGen.

But let us not forget for a second that all these miraculous gifts are subject to two crucial conditions: The first is that we must diligently serve Hashem & keep His decrees, ordinances & Mitzvot (11:1). The second requirement – no less crucial - is," Lo b’miskaynut tochal ba lechem (8:9);" we must not eat our bread "like a miskayn, like a nebech." In other words, we must see the miracle for what it is & not grouse or complain, for in order to BE blessed, you must acknowledge that you ARE blessed. We must eat our bread, so to speak, "with relish," with grateful appreciation & love of Hashem for all the good that has been bestowed upon us from Above.

And then, as the sedra concludes, everywhere our feet tread – from the Sinai to Lebanon, from the Jordan to the Euphrates to the Mediterranean – will be our borders.
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