Torah: Eikev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25) Haftarah: Isaiah (49:14-51:3)
Deuteronomy is the final fifth book in the Torah, which Moses discourses to the Jewish people.
The Torah’s second discourse of Moses continued:
The rewards of obedience, the lessons of past history, and the warning of arrogance.
Reverence and awe for G-d…The Torah states that “you shall fear the Lord your G-d” (Deuteronomy 10:20). In Proverbs 1:7 we are told that “fear of G-d is the beginning of wisdom.” Reverence for G-d, an acknowledgement of G-d’s infinite power and righteousness, is one of the keys to human wisdom.
From the earliest period of history, Jews have endeavored to serve G-d through prayer. The ancient rabbis understood Deuteronomy 10:20, “You shall fear the Lord your G-d, serve Him, and cleave to Him,” as referring to prayer, since in praying a Jews serve G-d with their heart. The Torah does not specify that prayers must be recited at a certain time or with certain text. It is only later, by rabbinic decree, that the texts and frequency of prayer were decided. “Him you shall serve.” (Deuteronomy 10:20)
While the Torah portion connection to the Haftarah speaks of Israel’s relationship with the Canaanites (Israelites) and the need to keep the faith and G-d’s laws in spite of living among idol worshippers. The Haftarah reassures the Israelites that the ancient covenant which G-d sealed with their ancestors will always be binding, in spite of the fact that the Israelites now find themselves in exile in Babylon. (Isaiah 49:14-51:3)
Today, Jewish people live throughout the world surrounded by people of other faiths and cultures, and yet the Jewish people, their faith and their culture inspires others to emulate. Throughout the persecutions, expulsions, and the Holocaust the Jews survived without a HOMELAND! Today, Jews have Israel and Israel has the support from the Diaspora Jewish communities. Both uniquely situated communities of the Jewish people keeping their faith and culture alive, thriving, and developing new technologies in all fields to help humanity!
May we continue to strive to be Lights to all. May we continue, “Him you shall serve.”
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder