Drash Cards for Eikev (5760)
by Marc Mangel
• Today I would like to discuss Ch 8, v 10, which is the basis for the Birka HaMazon.
• Rav Kook said that the basis for the Torah is the relationship between the community and the individual and how the individual finds contentment in the community.
• Eating is a fundamental need and the Birkat Ha Mazon is a ladder so that we ascend from those needs to heaven. Indeed we begin with Shir HaMa-alot
• But here is the hard stuff, part 1. In Ch 10, v 12, we are told that we only need to fear God (all the classic commentators translate Yirat as fear)
• In our world, better translations might be revere, stand in awe of (and awe is the beginning of religion)
• It was easy for Moses to find awe, but how do we do it? Answer: just look around you!
• Even Creationists are in awe of God’s workings. In 1996 the Pontifical Academy said that there was an “ontological discontinuity” in which going from the 24 chromosomes of the apes to our 23 chromosomes was the insertion of the soul.
• Hard stuff, part 2: Ch 11, v 13 which gives the second part of the Shma. The Biblical world had it easy with good/bad: the community does good, it gets rewarded; the community does bad, it gets punished.
• This lasted until the end of the 1st Temple and 2nd Temple period when we had the rise of individualism. But after the Crusades, the pogroms, and the Shoah it is hard to believe in good/bad ==> reward/punishment.
• We are God wrestling again!