26 Aug Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Eikev 5776
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Eikev as Moshe continues his speech to the Israelites on the banks of the Jordan River. Whereas last week in Parashat Va’etchanan we found the first paragraph of the Sh’ma, this week we are treated to the second paragraph of that same prayer which fits in well with the general tone of this week’s Torah portion. What the Israelites are reminded of is that God has expectations for them which God expects to be met. Life with God on their side is not just a one-way street with constant benefit; there is responsibility that comes along with it. And each day when we read the Sh’ma we are reminded of precisely that fact. It teaches us that this idea is true both in our relationships with God and with each other. God expects of us just as God expected of the Israelites, but we are also responsible to each other. Our relationships with other human beings are characterized not simply by a constant receiving from others but by giving back in return. For good reason we read this paragraph and learn this lesson every day.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik