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Parshat Ekev begins with the promise of Hashem's abundant blessings for B'nai Yisroel. "V'Haya Ekev Tishm'un" - when our people hearken to the law (Devarim 7:12), particularly those ordinances that apply to man's relationship with his fellow man, Hashem will protect and bless us. These uplifting words served as encouragement to B'nai Israel as they prepared to enter the land of Israel. They also speak of the destiny of our people.

We find this theme again in our Parsha (Devarim 11:13). This section contains the second part of our daily prayer, the "Sh'ma Yisroel." "V'Haya Im Shamoa," teaches us to love Hashem and serve him with all our heart and soul. The Torah describes in detail the rewards for obedience to Hashem and the consequences of choosing a different path in life.

Among the punishments enumerated are: drought, loss of produce and banishment from the land of Israel (verse 17). As overheard by a grandmother admonishing her young grandson, "When you behave yourself, you'll get everything, but when you're bad, you'll get nothing...or worse!" We are Hashem's children and Hashem wants us to have everything.

It seems that we find this dualism throughout the Torah, reward and punishment next to each other as though they are opposite sides of the same coin.

Indeed, we are empowered by Hashem to transform life's daily opportunities into a blessing or a curse. We have that freedom of choice to select the ways of Torah, for that brings us blessings.

The long exile we have experienced is a result of making the wrong choices. One of the consequences of disobedience to Hashem as we learn this week, is the loss of our land and exile. No nation on earth can match this experience. When other countries were conquered, they kept their land and paid taxes to the new owners; this is the norm. B'nai Yisroel, however, was dispossessed from the Land of Israel, sent to wander in the exile and essentially experienced all the predictions written in the Torah detailing what happens when someone disobeys Hashem.

Imagine if the exile had never taken place. The words of the Torah would be viewed as ancient myths; interesting stories but hardly relevant to modern man. The Torah's promise to reward good and punish evil would be seen as fiction as well. The exile proves that Hashem keeps his promises.

It's time we learned the lesson of Parshat Ekev and choose the path of abundant blessings and divine protection. In this way the Torah's positive promises will be fulfilled.

May we all merit the divine protection of Hashem in these challenging times.

Kol Tov!  Our best to's all good.

Shabbat Shalom, CM


The word "Ekev" in Hebrew also means "heel." Our sages connect the "heel" idea to those little Mitzvot that we tend to overlook. Which Mitzvah do you believe is neglected nowadays?


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