Ekev, a Dvar Torah
3 years ago Quincy Barret 0
My name is Quincy, I live in Manchester and this year, I am venturing into the world of CTeen Connection. My articles will mainly be short divrai torah (often with a question and answer format), attempting to reveal some of the hidden lessons from the weekly parashah (Torah portion).
In this week’s parashah Ekev, Moshe continues to address the B’nei Yisra’el (Jewish people) before his death. Moshe notes in 8:2, how the people’s wanderings for the past forty years were a test of the people’s loyalty. He then, in the next phrases, explains that one should learn
“ לֹ֣א עַל־הַלֶּ֤חֶם לְבַדּוֹ֙ יִחְיֶ֣ה הָֽאָדָ֔ם כִּ֛י עַל־כָּל־מוֹצָ֥א פִֽי־ה יִחְיֶ֥ה הָאָדָֽם׃”
“Not on bread alone shall live man, but on all that comes from Hashem’s(gd) mouth man should live.” This is a strange phrase but has significant meaning when understood. By saying that on everything Hashem produces man can live, it is telling us that Hashem produces everything that man needs to live! Everything we need comes from Hashem. But this also tells us that we can enjoy the variety of Hashem’s produce. We do not need to restrict ourselves simply to the minimum basic requirements to exist. It is quite in order, in fact almost encouraged, for us to enjoy and derive pleasure from the resources available to us. The only condition comes a few pasukim(sentences) later, where it states “
וְאָכַלְתָּ֖ וְשָׂבָ֑עְתָּ וּבֵֽרַכְתָּ֙ אֶת־ה אֱלֹקּיךָ” “you should eat and be satisfied and bless Hashem”. We must never forget that all the good thing we have come from Hashem and should acknowledge that and express our gratitude to him.
Hashem even goes on to tell us how we should show our gratitude. In 11:1 it states “
וְאָ֣הַבְתָּ֔ אֵ֖ת ה אֱלֹקּיךָ וְשָׁמַרְתָּ֣ מִשְׁמַרְתּ֗וֹ וְחֻקֹּתָ֧יו וּמִשְׁפָּטָ֛יו וּמִצְוֺתָ֖יו כָּל־הַיָּמִֽים׃
And you shall love Hashem, keep his charges, his laws, judgements and commandments every day.”For us to benefit from the good things in the world, all that Hashem requests of us is to love, fear, and serve him by keeping the mitzvot (source: lilmod ulamed). But the test for is how to use these things. There are many things in this world that can be used for both good and bad.
A prime example of this is alcohol. We all know that this can be used in a positive or negative way. We can use it for blessing Hashem through kiddish(wine blessing), entertaining guests and having a good time or G-d forbid, misusing it which can lead to inappropriate behaviour. We don’t have to live like a monk, who ensures that he will not do the wrong thing by totally abstaining, and existing on basic meagre food. As we said, ‘we do not live on bread alone’, what type of a life would that be. This is not the Jewish way.
It is up to us whether we us the world around us, Hashem’s gifts, for benefit or for detriment.
The choice is ours!