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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Ekev

Parashat Ekev

Blessing of Resources

2910
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The opening verses of Parashat Ekev tell us something that we all know intuitively - living in Israel presents many dangers. What are the primary risks as described by the Torah?

According to the Torah, the most difficult times are those that don't present us with problems or troubles.

The first threat is the natural goodness of the land and its resources. The grain and produce, the oil and honey, all present us with something to fear. The second threat is success. The homes that we build in the land, along with all our material accomplishments, should be viewed with apprehension. For it is during times of success that we are most likely to forget Hashem and turn to other gods - or credit the success to ourselves - ignoring His goodness and generosity that brought us to this place.

How are we to protect ourselves from these dangers?

The Torah makes several suggestions. Birkat ha-Mazon, which focuses on the land of Israel and its produce, is one of them. It is a recurring statement that helps us recognize Hashem's role in the food we eat and remember who it is that deserves the credit. Similarly, remembering the difficult moments of our history in the desert and how Hashem brought us to Eretz Yisrael brings us to realize that we are always in need of His attention and support.

We find ourselves blessed today; we live in interesting times. Jews in both Israel and the Diaspora find themselves in better economic and social circumstances than we have been in generations, a situation that is reminiscent of what the Torah describes. It is at such a time that we must recognize both where we belong and by what right we deserve to be there.

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