Shabbat Eykev

Candles - Friday, August 11th @ 7:39pm
Havdalah - August 12th @ 8:33pm

Six times in the Book of Devarim, the Torah refers to how wonderful the Land of Israel is. As a land “flowing (or better oozing) with milk and honey.”

In addition, in this week’s reading in Chapter 11.10. the Torah adds “The Land you are coming into is not like Egypt where when you plant you have to irrigate like a vegetable garden. The land you are coming into has hills and valleys and is watered by the rains. It is a land that God looks out for all the time. From the beginning of the year until the end.”

But the Torah also says in what became the second paragraph of the Shema, that God could shut off the supply of rain, close the heavens. Fruitfulness depended on the people and how they behaved. The Torah re-iterates that is not that we were, are, so good that we were given the land. But that the previous custodians failed!

We are so used to rational scientific approaches to the land, to GMO crops, to climate control, de-salination and technical ways of solving our problems. Important as they are, human intervention can be destructive as well as beneficial. We need a spiritual, a Divine, dimension to act as a check and balance to humanity’s “overweening pride and arrogance.”