Musings of an Orthodox Jew

Thoughts on Torah and the Jewish world today.

Parshas Eikev 5770: Character traits for worshipping Hashem

QUESTION
In this weeks Parsha three verses show the progression in the character traits to?
worship G-d- from the least desireable to the most desireable. Whar are these verses and how do they show this progression?

This weeks Parsha is Eikev Devarim (Deuteronomy) 7:12-11:25

ANSWER
The three traits beign discussed here are the following;
1) Fear Hashem
2) Love Hashem
3) Cleave to Hashem

Now, the most fundamental aspect as a start to believing in Hashem and following the Torah is expressed very clearly in the brachot as we get up in the morning “Reishis Chochma yirhas Hashem sachel tov l’chol oseihem tehilato l’ad. Baruch shem kavod malchuto l’olam va’ed” “The beginning of wisdom is fear (awe) of Hashem. Clear understanding of what is right (is granted) to all who perform then (the mitzvot) with pure motives. His praise is forever. Blessed is his mighty name and glory (rulership/kingship) for all eternity” (as a side note- the phrases in brackets are added by me to make it more understandable.)

So here we have the basic understanding that we need to fear G-d outlined- though fear here is not as in running in fright, but rather being in awe and fearing his might and punishment as we would any ruler with the right to punish us.

So, now to the verses in the parsha. the firset verse is in Devarim Chapter 8:

6. And you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to go in His ways, and to fear Him. ו. וְשָׁמַרְתָּ אֶת מִצְוֹת יְ־הֹ-וָ־ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לָלֶכֶת בִּדְרָכָיו וּלְיִרְאָה אֹתוֹ:

This is essentially what the resihis Chchma blessig states- when we follow the mitzvos and do as hashem says, we will come to fear G-d

The next verse is Devarim Chapter 10

12. And now, O Israel, what does the Lord, your God, demand of you? Only to fear the Lord, your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, and to worship the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul, יב. וְעַתָּה יִשְׂרָאֵל מָה יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ שֹׁאֵל מֵעִמָּךְ כִּי אִם לְיִרְאָה אֶת יְ־הֹ-וָ־ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לָלֶכֶת בְּכָל דְּרָכָיו וּלְאַהֲבָה אֹתוֹ וְלַעֲבֹד אֶת יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל נַפְשֶׁךָ:

Here we see the next step in the progression- from fear to love which is a higher way of serving G-d- where dowe see this? In the phrase “Only to fear the Lord, your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him”- so if you fear G-d, you walk in his ways, you will come to love him

The last verse is in Devarim Chapter 11

22. For if you keep all these commandments which I command you to do them, to love the Lord, your God, to walk in all His ways, and to cleave to Him, כב. כִּי אִם שָׁמֹר תִּשְׁמְרוּן אֶת כָּל הַמִּצְוָה הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם לַעֲשֹׂתָהּ לְאַהֲבָה אֶת יְ־הֹ-וָ־ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם לָלֶכֶת בְּכָל דְּרָכָיו וּלְדָבְקָה בוֹ:

Here we see the final step in the progression- if we follow the commandments, love Hashem, come to enulate his traits by walking in his ways- we will come to cleave to him.

What does “cleave” imply? As in Bereishis 2:24 where it is that a man and his wife become like a single unit- here the same is implied- by cleaving to hashem, man elevates himself spiritually to the point where his will and actions refeltc the will of Hashem

Essentially, at the highest level we see the promise of the Reishis Chochmah belssing fulfilled- we are one with Hashem and therefore, when we fulfill the mitzvot, it is a complete fulfillment that is entirely pure in its motivation and it is as if the will of Hashem and our will is as one. Of course we cannot understand the will of hashem or what it implies completely- but by striving to fulfill this, by striving to walk the path from fear, to love to cleaving- we elevate ourselves and come to fulfill the commandments that hashem has placed before us.

This is based on a shiur found in Biurei HaChofetz Chaim on Devarim parshat Eikev

Note: I welcome corrections, comments, additions to the above.

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July 26, 2010 - Posted by | Parshah, Torah, Weekly Question/Issue | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. What happened to last week’s?

    I’m having trouble understanding the question…

    Mah Sh’lomcha?

    Comment by Gavriel | July 30, 2010 | Reply

    • Due to needing to prepare shiurim for Tisha B’Av, I only started on the Parsha later in the week so I never posted a question.

      As for this question- think along the lines of fear and love of G-d.

      And thank, evrything is great, I hope the same is true by you

      Comment by marc | July 30, 2010 | Reply

  2. Thank you very much!

    Kol Tuv- HaShem Ya’azor lecha lekabel Shiduch tov (Im ata rotzeh)!

    Comment by Gavriel | July 30, 2010 | Reply


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