Eikev – Rishon

Tough Love

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Moshe told the people, “If you keep God’s laws, He’ll make things good for you. Your offspring, your land, your produce and your livestock will all be great. There won’t be any illness or infertility and only your enemies will know suffering.”

“Therefore,” he continued, “don’t worry about how to defeat the Canaanite nations. God will take care of them just like He did the Egyptians. He’ll drive them out gradually, because if there was a sudden disappearance of people from the land, wild animals would come into the cities and that wouldn’t be such a good thing, either.”

The Jews were instructed to destroy idols entirely; they were not to strip them down for their gold and silver. Idols are an abomination to God, so they Jews were not to bring them into their homes.

Moshe reminded the Jews of their experiences in the wilderness during the prior four decades. It had its ups and downs. Yes, their mettle was tested by adversity, but God also provided manna for them, as well as clothes that did not wear out. God showed Israel the same kind of tough love a parent would show a child. (Verse 3 includes the famous expression, “Man does not live by bread alone…”)

The land the Jews were about to enter is bountiful, Moshe told them, and they would lack nothing. They’d enjoy produce, bread in abundance, and useful natural resources. When they eat and are satisfied, they must bless God for the land. (Verse 10 is the obligation to recite bentching/birkas hamazon/grace after meals.)

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