Make a deal

Though the word “Eikev” is essentially not translatable on its own, it can be understood as meaning “on condition.”

By Rabbi Ari Enkin, United with Israel

Moses charges the Jewish people to remember to observe the Torah and be sure to meticulously guard its code of morality and ethics. This week’s Torah portion is called Eikev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25). Though the word “Eikev” is essentially not translatable on its own, it can be understood as meaning “on condition.” In other words, Moses is telling the nation about to enter the Land of Israel: You want a state? You want peace? You want success in prosperity in the Holy Land? You want God to rest in your midst? There are some “Eikev” – conditions, that must be met.

The people of Israel, the Land of Israel, and the State of Israel are no ordinary entities. Israel is not just another state in the family of nations. We are different. We must be. As the Bible labels us: “A light unto the nations”. The Jewish people and the State of Israel are obligated to send a message of dignity and leadership to the world. As they say, we answer to a Higher Authority.

And indeed, we have. From scientific developments, to humanitarian aid, to agriculture, to religion – Israel has broken every record and surpassed every expectation.

Make no mistake, however. Although God in His mercy and kindness bestows such blessings upon us – there are some strings attached. Those strings are called “Ekev”. They are the “strings” of morality, ethics, humanitarianism, democracy, freedom. In other words: what the Jewish people and the Jewish state must be based upon.

The Torah’s values, and by extension, God’s blessings, are open to all who desire to enjoy them. Whether it is the observance of the traditional “mitzvot” (commandments) that Jews are accustomed to, or whether it is belief and attachment to God and living a life of morality and dignity which is something open and accessible to all of mankind regardless of race or religion, the Torah is telling us this week: Ekev. Conditions. Fair Play. Give-and-take.

Let’s make a deal, God says. Take a baby step towards Me, and I’ll take a giant leap towards you. Keep the Torah’s code of morality. May God’s blessing be upon you and your family.

Shabbat Shalom!