Ekev: A Summary of the Parashah
Moses continues his speech to the Israelites, reminding them to keep God's commandments when they enter the land of Israel.
"For you are a stiff-necked people. Remember how you provoked God and rebelled against God and God wanted to destroy you. Remember when God gave me the two stone tablets, the Tablets of the Covenant, only to find that you had built a golden calf to be your god. I broke those tablets and melted your god in such anger as to turn it into powder and threw it in the river.
"God had me return to the mountain and make new tablets with The Ten Commandments and place them into the ark, to be taken care of by the Levis. It was an ark that was made with great precision and we carried it from place to place throughout the wilderness.
"So now, what does God require of you? Only to fear God, to walk in all God's ways and to love God and to serve God with all your heart and with all your soul. Keep these commandments for your own good. Behold! It is to your God, that the heavens and the earth belong.
"Therefore, do not stiffen your necks anymore. For your God, is God of gods and Lord of lords. God is the great, mighty and feared God Who does not consider personal standing and accepts no bribe, but upholds the rights of the orphan and widow and stranger. You, too, shall love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
"Therefore, love God, for you saw all that God did for you in the wilderness and before when bringing you out of slavery with miracles.
"So keep these commandments as you enter this promised land--a land that can flow with milk and honey. This is land for which God cares. The eyes of God are always upon it. If you will serve God with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give rain and the plants will grow and be harvested and you shall eat and be satisfied.
"But do not turn aside and serve other gods and cast yourselves down before them. Then the anger of God will be kindled, and God will hold back rain, and the soil will not yield its produce, and you will quickly vanish from the good land that God is giving you.
"Even then, you must place these words upon your heart and upon your soul, and bind them as a sign upon your hand, and let them be for frontlets between your eyes, and teach them to your sons, and speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk upon the way, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and upon your gates, so that the days of your children may long endure in the promised land. If you keep these commandments, God will put fear of you into all the lands where you set foot.
Questions For Discussion
1) What does it mean that "man can live by everything that comes from God?" Is that still true today? Why or why not?
2) God says that Jews must keep the Ten Commandments for their own good. In today's world, is it still for our own good to keep the commandments? Why?
3) Do you feel that the Jews have been blessed by God more than other peoples? If so, how? If not, why?
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