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Ekev – A thought for the week by Mike Lewis

This week Moses continues to address the people. He wants to guide them as they prepare to enter the land. It would be only the second time that he would not be with them. What might have been in his mind was the memory that the last time he was not with them they built a Golden Calf.

The Parasha includes the second verse of the Shema where we recite:

יוְהָיָ֗ה אִם־שָׁמֹ֤עַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ֙ אֶל־מִצְו‍ֹתַ֔י
And it will be, if you hearken to My commandments

We are also reminded that in the desert we were supplied with manna but in the land, we will need to work but we are instructed:

When you have eaten and been satisfied, you will bless the Lord your God

This verse is used as the basis of the Birchat Ha Mazon, Grace after meals.

Both the Recitation of the Shema and the Birchat Ha Mazon are fundamental Torah obligations.

The problems of the wanderings in the wilderness would be nothing compared with the challenges we were about to face. Building a settled society would be more difficult than travelling.

History shows that is the nature of civilisations that they rise and then decline and fall. The Book of Devarim faces this problem directly. We are being shown the carrot and the stick.  How could we, as a small people, hold together?

The glue that would hold us together over the years is being set out here. We read:

וְעַתָּה֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל מָ֚ה יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ שֹׁאֵ֖ל מֵֽעִמָּ֑ך
And now, O Israel, what does the Lord, your God, demand of you? Only to fear the Lord, your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him

What the future will hold is always going to be uncertain.

Loyalty to the covenant, remembering our history and remembering our mistakes whilst holding onto our faith is what keeps us alive.

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