Eikev/As a Result Of
Deuteornomy 7:12-11:25
HafTorah Portion Isaiah 49:14-51:3
Brit Chadasha Romans 8:31-39

     This Parsah derives its name from the first sentence, ‘Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. Deuteronomy 7:12
     Eikev contains the seven species, Deuteronomy 8:8 and the second part of the Sh’ma is in Deuteronomy 11:18-21.  Chapter 9 reviews Israel’s rebellion and in chapter 10 Moses recounts the second set of tablets. In the final chapter 11, love and obedience are rewarded.
     But in Deuteronomy 10:12-22 is really the essence of the Torah: And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good? 14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it. 15 The Lord delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. 16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. 18 He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. 19 Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 20 You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. 21 He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen. 22 Your fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now the Lord your God has made you as the stars of heaven in multitude.’
     Listen, remember, do not forget, keep, obey, careful to observe, walk in His ways, be careful to not forget, Hear O Israel.   But how to listen? How to sh’ma? It is a word that is fundamentally untranslatable into English since it means so many things: to hear, to listen, to pay attention, to understand, to internalize, to respond, to obey. It no less than 92 times in the book of Devarim – more than in any other book of the Torah.  Over and over again in the last month of his life Moses told the people, Shema: listen, heed, pay attention. Hear what I am saying. Hear what God is saying. Listen to what He wants from us.
     Western culture was built with ideas from ancient Greece and ancient Israel. These two cultures could not have been more different. Greece was a profoundly visual culture. Its greatest achievements had to do with the eye, with seeing.  Art and sculptures and amazing architecture the world has ever seen. It devised grand theatrical performances and the Olympic games. Everything had to do with the ‘eye’. Even Plato thought of knowledge as a kind of depth vision, seeing beneath the surface to the true form of things. This idea – that knowing is seeing – has all but held captive as the main symbol of most cultures today. We use words like insight, foresight and hindsight. We make ‘observations’, and when we understand something, we say, “I see”.
    To be one with God is to live within a faith in a God we cannot see, a God who cannot be represented visually. The very act of making something to see is called a graven image which is idolatry. We are reminded that God is not something to see but to hear’ Deuteronomy 4:12 ‘You heard the sound of words, but saw no image; there was only a voice.” 
     Listening lies at the very heart of every relationship and to listen opens the door to our spirituality. We can not learn God if we don’t listen. And how does He speak to us? With His Word. It is after we truly listen that we put what we heard into practice. We must ‘do His Word’ for if we hear only and not obey then we are as James 1:22-25 states, ‘But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.’
    

 

 

 

 

 

עֵקֶב
Ekev / Because
Deuteronomy 7:11-11:25

 

     Deuteronomy 7:12-15 opens with ‘Then it shall come to pass because you listen to these judgments and keep them and do them that YHWH your Elohim will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers…’
     ‘Mercy’. V’ethachesed, which in Hebrew translates to loyal mercy and loyal love.  The promise of love was to our forefathers and to us. His loyal love has no time frame attached to it. This is important because Hebrews 11:3 states that the very words of God do in fact frame the worlds of God. Therefore, the Torah is the very essence of creation and time encompasses the entirety of one’s existence. That is equal to the loyal never-ending love of God, a complete concept which is hard to completely understand. Love in the face of adversity. Mercy instead of punishment. Blessings in spite of rebellion.
     In Deuteronomy 8 God instructs His people to be ‘careful’ to observe His ways that they may live and multiply and possess the land.  They were to remember that He led them the forty years and humbled them to test them to know what was in their hearts whether they would keep His commandments or not.  He humbled them to hunger, then fed them, and their garments did not wear out.
     Deuteronomy 8:6 tells us that we are to keep the commandments of God and to walk in His ways to fear/yirah/awe Him. And then we are told that He is bringing us into a good land. A land of water, fountains, springs and a land that is filled with the seven species.  

  • Wheat/Hita.  Wheat is considered so special that when made into bread it has its own blessing.
  • Barley/Serua.  Mentioned 30 times in the Tanakh and a sign of the beginning of spring.
  • Grapes/Anavi’im.  Considered a symbol of redemption and renewal. The characteristic of the grape is joy.
  • Figs/Tei’anim. The fig is mentioned 57 times in the Tanakh and is considered a symbol of peace.
  • Pomegranates/Rimon.  The word Rimon has its root in Ram which means high or elevated and is the symbol of the Kingdom of Israel.
  • Olives/Zeitim. The land of Israel is also known as the land of olive oil. Used to anoint kings it is also a symbol of hope, fruitfulness, beauty, goodness, peace and a long life.
  • Dates-Honey/Tmarim. The date palm tree was depicted on coins minted by the Macabees after their victory over the Greeks. The inner pillars of the Holy Temple were decorated with beautiful hand carved date palm leaves.

 

      Deuteronomy 8:11 is sobering: ‘Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes…’  In this simple statement, God is telling His people that we forget when we slip outside of His ways. When we stop listening to Him, observing His commandments and walking in His Torah , then we forget the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  We become bound to another god, maybe a god of religion, or man, or even the god of ourselves. We become our own authority.
    Ekev also contains the second half of the Shema. Deuteronomy 11:18-21, ‘Therefore you shall keep these words of Mine in your, heart in your soul and bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children speaking of the when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, whey you lie down and when you rise. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them like the days of the heavens above the earth…’
    If we heed these instructions, then we will not forget the commandments of God.  But if we grow complacent we slip away from God, by our own apathy and our own persuasion.  Soon we digress into a world of our own, with our own rules and our own reasoning which leads us away from Elohim.
  In the previous Torah portions, God tells us to not forget the things our eyes have seen, Deuteronomy 4:9.  To watch ourselves that we do not forget the covenant of the Lord…’ Deuteronomy 4:23. 
     Other Scripture verses implore us to not forget.
2 Kings 17:38  ‘The covenant that I have made with you, you shall not forget nor shall you fear other gods.’
Psalm 9:17 ‘The wicked will return to Shelol. Even all the nations who forget God.’
Psalm 106:19-22 ‘They made a calf in Horeb and worshipped a molten image. Thus they exchanged their glory for the image of an ox that eats grass. They forgot their Savior who had done great things in Egypt.’
Psalm 103:2 ‘Bless the Lord O my soul and forget none of His benefits.’
     The blessings that Adonai promises to His faithful children are unable to be measured.  He is everlasting with His mercy and love. Ekev shows that.
Deuteronomy 7:12 He promises that if we pay attention to His Torah, He will keep His covenant of love with us.
Deuteronomy 10:15 says that God set His affection on our forefathers and loved them and that He chose us, their descendants above all the nations.
Deuteronomy 11:12 ‘It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.’
     What a merciful God we serve. Why wouldn’t we want to walk in His Ways and be under His authority. We must ask ourselves; ‘whose authority am I under?’

     Baruch HaShem! 
    

 

עֵקֶב
Ekev / Because
Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25

    Ekev begins with the promises of God if the people obey the commandment. “Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. 13 And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. 14 You shall be blessed above all peoples.’ Deuteronomy 7:12-14.
     Moses rebukes them for their rebellion, yet continues with the grace of God and His blessings if they will obey. Moses reiterates to the children of Israel that when God sustained them with manna it was to teach them that man does not live on bread alone ‘Deuteronomy 8:3 ‘He humbled you, and in your hunger He gave you manna to eat, which neither you nor your fathers had known, so that you might understand that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD’.  This is repeated by Yeshua as He quotes Deuteronomy 8:3.
     Matthew 4:4 – ‘Yeshua answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' This is proof that Yeshua did not abolish the Torah, but rather kept the Torah, taught the Torah, and referenced the Torah.
     Deuteronomy 8:6 lists the seven species that are found in The Land: ‘Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey.’ Each species represents His substance, His Word, us and the two parts of life.    Deuteronomy 8:18-20 contains sobering words: ‘“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. 20 As the nations which the Lord destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God.’
     The general concept of obedience relates to hearing/listening/Shema or hearkening to a higher authority. Obedience to God means to listen, hear, trust, and submit to God and His Word. Going back to Genesis 22:18 we see the promise of obedience: "And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me."  
     Yeshua repeats this in Luke 11:28: ‘Yeshua replied, "But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
      Obedience also proves our love. 1John 5:2 ‘By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.’
     Obedience demonstrates our faith. 1 John 2:3-6 ‘Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in Him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in Him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. ‘
     In Deuteronomy 10:12 Moses gives clear instructions continuing with the virtues of following the commandments of God: ‘And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good. 14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it. 15 The Lord delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. 16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. ‘
     By following the commandments, mitzvohs, of God we will be blessed, He will love us and multiply us, and our livestock and way of living. By following the commands of God, we circumcise our hearts and we are stiff-necked no longer.  Why would anyone desire to remain stiff-necked?
     This parsha closes with Moses explaining to the children of Israel the he does not speak to the descendants: ‘… know that I do not speak with your children, who have not known and who have not seen the chastening of the Lord your God, His greatness and His mighty hand and His outstretched arm…’ But rather he speaks to the people that witnessed all of God’s greatness. Verse 7 ‘…but your eyes have seen every great act of the Lord which He did.’
    Ekev also contains the second half of the Shema, ‘ Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.’ Deuteronomy 11:18-21.
     Ekev closes with Moses continuing with the virtues of following the commands of the Lord: “For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him— 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves. 24 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea, shall be your territory. 25 No man shall be able to stand against you; the Lord your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you.’
  The main virtue of following the commandments of God is that we love Him because He first loved us… 1 John 4:19.
     May you be blessed as you study Ekev~
   Rabbi Jay Howard