06 Aug Rabbi Hillel Skonik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Eikev 5775
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Eikev which, probably not surprisingly, continues Moshe’s final speech to the Israelite people (if that sounds familiar, it’s because I’ve used that phrase for the past two weeks and will continue to use it for the next several weeks as Moshe’s speech was quite long). Whereas last week’s section included the Sh’ma, the central declaration of faith that we have in Judaism followed by the first paragraph of what we recite as the “Sh’ma” in the morning and evenings, this week’s parasha includes the second paragraph of the “Sh’ma.” In keeping with a main theme of Moshe’s oratory, that paragraph (Deuteronomy 11:13-21) focuses on the ideas of reward and punishment. In quite clear terms, Moshe lets the Israelites know that if they follow God’s commandments they will be rewarded with rain, plentiful crops and even long life. If not, there will be no rain, no food and life will be cut short. We understandably focus much more of our attention on the first paragraph which has a much kinder message, but under no means should we forget the importance of following God’s commandments and the truthfulness behind the warning Moshe gave the Israelite people.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik