Eikev [And if you] obey [these rules]
The commandments are the central theme of the book of Deuteronomy, especially as it relates to our capitulation of them. Throughout the book, we are faced with the question of what our core motivation should be in observing the precepts of God. Do we adhere to them in order to get a reward … or to avoid punishment … or out of love for God? …
The parasha for this Shabbat is titled Balak. According to Joshua 24:9, Balak son of Zippor was the king of Moab, and thus a descendant of Abraham’s nephew Lot (Genesis 19:36-37). The Moabites were not descended from Abraham, but from Abraham’s brother Haran (Genesis 11:27). The Moabites lived in the area of modern Jordan, between Mount Nebo in the north and the Kingdom of Edom in the south, bordering the Dead Sea…read more
The pattern in the wilderness is unmistakable – God moves mightily, and His people end up grumbling. It almost seems unthinkable that people could have the audacity to see the very provision of God in front of their eyes day after day, yet respond by grumbling and complaining.read more
There are a number of important spiritual insights which emerge from this week’s Torah portion.
First, we see the destructive power of grumbling and complaining. This had been Israel’s habit in the wilderness in the months leading up to this momentous account, where the 12 spies are sent into the promised land. In fact, even before the children of Israel had miraculously crossed the Red Sea, they were complaining. (See Exodus 14:10-12, then 15:23-24; 16:2-3, 6-9; 17:1-3; it really is devastating to read these verses, one after the other.) …read more
There is one word that profoundly stands out to me in this week’s portion, and that word is “separation.” I circled each time it occurred in Numbers 6 and counted the word used 7 times in my New American Standard version. This particular chapter has to do with the law of the Nazirite which comes from the Hebrew word nazir which literally means, “one who is separated or consecrated” …read more
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