Telephone Torah Study: What Does God Demand of You?
Torah portion Eikev (Deut.7:12-11:25) asks “What Does God Demand of You?” And, we ask back “What Do We Demand of God?” These are the questions we’ll explore this week on our Telephone Torah Study, Thursday 4-5pm.
To join in on the conference call, please dial 702-851-4044, when prompted punch in 2, then our pass code 22252#.
In ‘Wholeness of a Broken Heart,’ transgender Rabbi Elliot Kukla says “true repair begins when we acknowledge the impact of broken relationships on this planet.” With this acknowledgement we can make whole again ourselves and the world around us.
I recently had the honor of serving as a chaplain to a woman named Maggie in the last weeks of her life. In those long, painful days in the hospital, Maggie was constantly surrounded by her three childhood best friends. One day I asked what it was that has kept them so connected. “Well,” sighed one of her friends, “we are so close now because she broke our hearts many years ago.”
The friends had been inseparable since grade school. In their last year of high school, Maggie had become pregnant and shortly thereafter suffered a painful miscarriage. Paralyzed by shame and sadness, Maggie was unable to share her grief with her friends. Instead, she withdrew completely. The friends were deeply hurt, but they refused to let her go. They kept calling, kept wanting a relationship. Slowly Maggie began to share her pain with them and they rebuilt their shattered friendship.
Remember the long way that your God Adonai has made you travel in the wilderness these past forty years, in order to test you by hardships to learn what was in your hearts: whether you would keep the divine commandments or not, [God] subjected you to the hardship of hunger and then gave you manna to eat, which neither you nor your ancestors had ever known, in order to teach you that a human being does not live on bread alone, but that one may live on anything that Adonai decrees. The clothes upon you did not wear out, nor did your feet swell these forty years. (Deut. 8:2-4)
Moshe details the general rewards for following the Torah, and encourages the nation to have complete confidence in Hashem’s protection. Moshe forewarns them of the dangers in being overly confident and commands them in the Mitzvah of Birkas Hamazon
Moshe warns them regarding the pitfalls of prosperity and idolatry, and exhorts them to remain humble in the face of their guaranteed victories. G-d is the one who deserves the credit!
In order to illustrate his point, Moshe reviews the incident of the Golden Calf. He explains why G-d, being a G-d of Justice, will grant the Bnai Yisroel a victory over the inhabitants of Canaan. Not because the Jews are deserving, but because the Seven Nations deserve to be punished for their own evil actions. The actions of the Bnai Yisroel during the 40 years, such as the Golden Calf, should have resulted in the Jews’ destruction. It was three factors which kept them alive and well so that they could inherit the land.
1. Hashem’s promise to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov.
2. The Chillul Hashem– desecration of G-d’s name–that would have occurred among the other nations who would question G-d’s ability to protect His nation.
3. Moshe’s begging for Hashem’s forgiveness.
Moshe finishes the story of the Golden Calf by retelling the giving of the Second Luchos.
Moshe poses the famous rhetorical question of, “What does G-d want… follow His ways…” and describes other instances of Hashem’s demanding justice.
Moshe describes the nature of Eretz Yisroel as demanding and responsive to our following the Torah. The second Parsha of Shema is recorded.
Moshe promises the nation total victory if they listen to the Mitzvos and follow the ways of the Hashem.