Drash Cards for Eikev (5777)
by Marc Mangel
- Drashot today, in two weeks, and Yom Kippur have a similar focus: what does God want of us? I will discuss strategy (the plan) and tactics (taking the plan into action).
- The Rebbe said about this sidra concerns the human situation, and the revelation we draw down upon himself by our own acts.
- Answer for today given in Ch 10, v12-13 (which we did not read). [ READ in Hebrew] The English, with Rashi interpolated from the Rebbe’s chumash]
“And now, Israel, even though you rebelled against God all those times, what does God, your God, demand of you? Only that you exercise your free choice to revere God, your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, and to serve God, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul by keeping God’s commandments and rules, which I am commanding you today. Furthermore, God is not asking you to do this gratuitously, but for your own good”
- Note the use revere instead of fear. Revere also used in the JPS translastion]
- The Rebbe’s Chumash gives this Chasidic insight “in most cases [when yirat HaShem is used] it is clear that ‘fear of God’ refers to a palpable awareness of His presence; ‘fear’ in this context is simply the fear that God would see you doing something that you would be embarrassed or ashamed to have Him see you do”.
- About this passage, Nehama says “The foregoing passage contains the essence of the whole Torah, the statement of the will of God, on one foot, as it were. Let us pay careful attention to it”
- In Berachot (33b) the Rabbi’s ask and then answer “Is awe of God a small thing, that the verse should state this is ‘only’ what Hashem asks?” Answer: “Yes. For Moshe it was a small thing”. The gemara goes on to discuss the awe of God’s grandeur and the fear of God’s punishment.
- Rashi writes that “Our Rabbis derive from this verse that everything is in the hands of HaShem except awe of HaShem” (good prep for Rosh HaShannah when God needs us to acknowledge God’s kingship).
- Levi Yitzchak quotes Rabbi Yechiel Michel that these verses paraphrase the verse in the Penitential psalm (27:4 – READ). David constantly asked the same thing – to attain more insights about God and thus become more and more in awe of God. He writes “Since it is possible for us to understand the attributes/manifestations of God, it is possible for us to emulate them when we have seen them in action. Once we comprehend these individual attributes of God, it is not difficult to develop a sense of awe and reverence for God”
- Now to tactics. Pinchas Peli in Torah Today does not focus on these verses, but rather on Ch 10, v 17-19: “Love you therefore the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt”.
- Why? This sentiment is repeated 36/42 (depending on commentator) times in the Bible.
Peli writes “That it is reiterated so many times tells use two things: first, that it must be of the utmost importance to God; second, that is a highly neglected area, or something which people are liable to forget, to overlook, or even find all kinds of explanations to do away with.”
- Rosie Saltsman in A Portion of Kindness quotes R. Wolbe in his book Alei Shur “Every commandment between people is based on a single premise – to bring light to the lives of others”. She says that we must always look upon our ability to help others as a favor God has bestowed upon us.
•Combining strategy and tactic: We show reverence to God, walk in God’s ways, and serve and show love of God by remembering that we must not mistreat the stranger within our gates, and that we cannot evade this iss