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עשה תורתך קבע – אמור מעט ועשה הרבה

Parshat Eikev

Posted by rabbiart on August 16, 2008

Consequences! Consequences can be good, or they can be bad. Either way, they are a result of our behavior. Parshat Va-Etchanan (last week’s parshah) concludes with this exhortation

וְשָׁמַרְתָּ אֶת-הַמִּצְוָה וְאֶת-הַחֻקִּים וְאֶת-הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם–לַעֲשׂוֹתָם.

Thou shalt therefore keep the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command thee this day, to do them.

Observing the Hebrew, we see that this verse is in the singular and not the plural, so we read it as directed to each of us. Yet the verse with which our parshah opens is in the plural.  What might we learn?  We are each individually responsible, but the consequences of our actions affect our entire community.

What might the consequences be?  Early in our history, Avraham is told that those who bless his descendants will be themselves blessed; those who curse – cursed.  Now in verse 14 the blessing is defined.

בָּרוּךְ תִּהְיֶה, מִכָּל-הָעַמִּים: לֹא-יִהְיֶה בְךָ עָקָר וַעֲקָרָה, וּבִבְהֶמְתֶּךָ.

You will be blessed of all the nations. No sterility, male and female, among you.

We of course remember how difficult it was for our founding matriarchs to conceive, and the troubles that accompanied birthing and raising children. The most important blessing of all is the ability to bring forth the next generation. A blessing… and an awesome responsibility.

What does this parshah have to teach us about our responsibilities to the next generation?

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