From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/eikev
Ëkev (עֵקֶב – Hebrew for “If” or “[And if You] Obey [These Rules]”) – Deuteronomy 7:12–11:25
And if you do obey these rules and observe them carefully, the Eternal your God will maintain faithfully for you the covenant made on oath with your fathers. – Deuteronomy 7:12
- Moses tells the Israelites that if they follow God’s laws, the nations who now dwell across the Jordan River will not harm them. (7:12–26)
- Moses reminds the people of the virtues of keeping God’s commandments. He also tells them that they will dispossess those who now live in the Land only because they are idolatrous, not because the Israelites are uncommonly virtuous. Thereupon, Moses reviews all of the trespasses of the Israelites against God. (8:1–10:11)
- Moses says that the Land of Israel will overflow with milk and honey if the people obey God’s commandments and teach them to their children. (10:12–11:25)
The second of seven haftarot of consolation leading up to the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which this year begins the evening of Sunday, September 25, 2022.
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/eikev
By: Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin [Senior Rabbi, Temple Sinai, Oakland CA]
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
You can read this week’s Torah Portions at https://www.sefaria.org/Deuteronomy.7.12-11.25
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
עקב Eikev – Deuteronomy 7:12–11:25
Conditions for Life in the Land by Dalit Rom-Shiloni, p. 1089
PARASHAT EIKEV (“if” or “as a result of”) contains three speeches (7:12–8:20; 9:1–10:22; 11:1–25), all of which highlight the central position of the Promised Land in the relationship between God and Israel. The “good land” is the object of the divine oath to the ancestors (7:12–13; 8:1; 9:5; 11:9) and the goal reached after forty years of wandering in the wilderness (8:1–20). For Israel’s sake, God constantly keeps an eye on the land of “milk and honey,” which is so different from the land of Egypt (11:12).
Whereas the prior parashah presents categorical demands of loyalty and obedience (as in the Decalogue in 5:6–18 and the Sh’ma in 6:4–9), Eikev opens with a conditional clause that emphasizes that obedience brings blessings (“And if you do obey these rules…”). Throughout the parashah, Moses emphasizes that existence in the land is conditioned upon obedience, observance, and love–all of which are manifestations of Israel’s loyalty to God (8:1–20; 11:8–9, 13–25). This message remains central in Jewish life, as 11:21–31 are traditionally recited twice daily as the second paragraph of the Sh’ma, and the same passage is inserted in the mezuzah and in t’fillin.
This parashah mentions women explicitly only a few times. One of the blessings promised if the people follow God’s teachings is the absence of infertile women and men (7:14). A later passage extolling God’s merits mentions that God “upholds the cause of … the widow” (10:18). As divine ruler (see at 10:17), God’s role is to defend and provide for the vulnerable members of society, including widows–a frequent topic of concern in Deuteronomy.
With regard to this parashah’s use of feminine imagery, one verse open to interpretation is the analogy comparing the way God disciplines Israel to the actions of a human parent (8:5). Does the masculine language of this verse refer specifically to a father and son, or, more inclusively, to the way that either parent treats a daughter or son? (See further at 8:5).
Another View – by Lillian Klein Abensohn, p. 1108
AMONG ALL THE BLESSINGS and exhortations of parashat Eikev, the social role of women is addressed most explicitly with reference to the widow (10:18). In a patriarchal world, the widow, like the fatherless child, lacks a man to defend her rights. According to the Bible, the almanah (widow) functions in an ill-defined but usually perilous role, for women are primarily defined by their relationships to men in positions of power, first as daughters and then as wives. When no grandfather, father, or adult son is living, an almanah has no man with authority over her–or responsibility for her. Although an almanah may be independent of male domination, she would probably have difficulty functioning as an autonomous individual in ancient Israel’s kinship-based, agricultural society.
In this context, God appeals to justice: an almanah must be recognized as an independent agent in order to support herself; to do otherwise would be unjust. God seeks redress, not out of sympathy for the “pitiable” widow, but because the woman should rightly be allowed to function on her own authority. (See Numbers 30:10, which holds widows and divorcees solely responsible for their vows, in contrast to young-adult daughters and to wives.)
Deuteronomy is particularly concerned with the almanah; it employs the word eleven times (10:18; 14:29; 16:11, 14; 24:17, 19, 20, 21; 26:12, 13; 27:19), compared to six instances in the rest of the Torah. In Deuteronomy, she is always mentioned with the command that her welfare be guaranteed and protected. Significantly, the masculine form of the word appears only once in the Bible (Jeremiah 51:5), whereas almanah (singular or plural) appears fifty-five times with the sense of “widow.” Several biblical narratives illustrate the problems that widows face and some of the areas where they experience autonomy. Judging by 1 Samuel 25, wealthy widows probably do well, for there Abigail seems to inherit her husband’s property before she marries David. On the other hand, the story of Ruth and Naomi illustrates the peril of poor widows with no one to advocate or provide for them.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, the 23rd through the 29th of Av, we lovingly remember:
Maria Dolores Advincula
Mother of TKH Member Ida Farmer
TKH Memorial Board – Father of Barry Levitt, Grandfather of David Levitt
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, August 19, 2022.
Zoom regularly updates its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening with wine/grape juice for Kiddush and Challah for Motzi.
Topic: Torah Study – ‘Ëkev (triennial part) Deut. 10:12-11:25
Time: Aug 19, 2022 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Aug 19, 2022 07:30 PM Arizona
To join Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!