Parsha Eikev: Mission Impossible? Or Mission So Simple?

law-books-291676_640This week we read Parsha Eikev (EkevEkebAikev, or Eqeb) which means “if you.”  Eikev consists of  Deuteronomy 7:12–11:25.  You can read a brief summary here.

Deuteronomy 7:

12If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your ancestors. 13He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and olive oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. 14You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor will any of your livestock be without young. 15The Lord will keep you free from every disease. He will not inflict on you the horrible diseases you knew in Egypt, but he will inflict them on all who hate you. 

It seems so simple.

God gave us the Torah (the teaching), and the hukim and mishpatim (laws governing our behavior), and all they had to do then (and all we’d have to do now) is be careful and follow them (the Teaching and laws).    After all we have a contract (aka covenant) with God, and those are the basic terms.  If we behave the way God commands, then He will be sure that we (as a people) will have health, prosperity, and a good life.

So why do we rebel against God and His ways?  Why don’t we fulfill our end of the deal?

Some will answer, “I don’t believe in Him.  If only God would show Himself – then I’d listen.”  Okay, but these people in the Torah (the 1st generation out of Egypt) had direct revelation with HaShem and still they could not comply.  Sure, some did.  Plenty did not (i.e. Golden Calf).

Perhaps it is simply an unfortunate part of our human nature.  Even though we know better, even though we want to benefit from doing right, something in us compels us to “do it my way.”  The yetzer hara (evil inclination) is so good at convincing us (through excuses, reasons, and rationalizations) that our different way is better than the other… and then we are convinced we will be okay with the results.  Unfortunately, when we act against God and follow our yetzer hara instead – though we may actually experience some fun, excitement, pride, and significance from our rebel behavior…  Ultimately all these are fleeting and superficial benefits at best.

We miss out on the tremendous bounty that only Hashem can provide, if we only would act according to His will.  It’s simple, but apparently very difficult.  It’s also obvious that this is how it has been for every generation, in every culture, for all people (including myself obviously.)

So did God give us an impossible contract?  Is this like a predatory loan where the lender know the borrower will never succeed in fulfillment of their loan?

No.  I believe God is good. And He gives each and every one of us tremendous opportunity every day to do a little more and listen a little better… but the listening and the doing is dependent on us.   Every day we wake up we say the Modeh Ani prayer, and we announce His tremendous faith in us.

That’s right!  God has tremendous faith in you and me and everyone He’s created.  Every day is a new opportunity to return to Him and do His will.  The power to act right is in everyone, but not everyone has the will to do so.

What people are capable of doing is EXTRAORDINARY…

It is what the are willing to do that is so disappointing.

Shabbbat Shalom

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