What Does “Chosen” Mean?

What Does “Chosen” Mean?

Aug 7, 2004 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Eikev

Israel is the heart and soul of the Jewish people; it is the home of our nation. Over a very special ten days in July, I had the honor of teaching with the Jacksonville Federation’s Mission to Israel. Some eighty-five participants: fifty adults and thirty-five children, joined together to express solidarity with Israel. We witnessed first-hand the miracles of modern day Israel in the absorption of immigrants from arbah kanfot ha’aretz, the four corners of the world, and in the substantive educational programs designed to make the integration of young Ethiopian immigrants more nurturing and successful.

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Love vs. Chaos

Love vs. Chaos

Aug 16, 2003 By Lewis Warshauer | Commentary | Eikev

It is often said that Judaism emphasizes doing, not believing. Actions are what matter. This is only partially true. It has long been recognized that intention and emotion, while not sufficient for the practice of Judaism, are necessary to it.

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A Minature Torah

A Minature Torah

Jul 27, 2002 By Lewis Warshauer | Commentary | Eikev

Jews who do not call themselves religious nonetheless do a number of things that are religious commandments. This is what we are told by various surveys and it is confirmed by anecdotal evidence. These include lighting Hanukkah candles, attending some form of Passover service, fasting on Yom Kippur and going to synagogue for some portion of the High Holy Days.

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Humility Through Prayer

Humility Through Prayer

Aug 7, 2004 By JTS Alumni | Commentary | Eikev

By Rabbi Robert Kahn

When you have eaten your fill, and have built fine houses to live in, and your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold have increased, and everything you own has prospered, beware lest your heart become haughty and you forget the Lord your God who freed you from the land of Egypt, the house of bondage (D’varim 8:11-14).

This passage in Parashat Eikev comes as a warning to the Israelites that in the future, when life is good, not to forget either who gave you the good life, nor how you got there. Particularly when life is good, the Torah teaches us to remember our humble beginnings.

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A Fertile Land

A Fertile Land

Aug 16, 2003 By Lauren Eichler Berkun | Commentary | Eikev

The themes of fertility and barrenness are central to the biblical narrative. It is striking how often we encounter barren women in the Bible. Sarah, the women of Abimelekh’s household, Rebekah, Rachel, Manoah’s wife, Hannah, and the Shunamite woman are all examples of barren women whose wombs are opened by God. Clearly, the process of reproduction holds a key to biblical theology. The very covenant of Israel is presented as a brit of fertility. God promises Abram, “This is my covenant with you. You shall be the father of a multitude of nations…I will make you exceedingly fertile.”

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The Moral Lessons of Tish’ah Be’Av

The Moral Lessons of Tish’ah Be’Av

Jul 13, 2002 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Devarim | Eikev | Tishah Be'av

The Shabbat before Tishah b’Av bears the special name of “Shabbat Hazon,” which I would translate as “the Sabbath of Vision.” The name derives from the first word of the haftarah for the day, “the prophecies (hazon) of Isaiah son of Amoz.” However, in the context of the calamities to be recalled on the Ninth of Av, the force of the word is not technical or restricted, but spiritual and expansive.

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Judaism’s Activist Spirit

Judaism’s Activist Spirit

Aug 27, 2005 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Eikev

In his early Zionist tract, Rome and Jerusalem (1862), Moses Hess declaimed “that the Jewish religion is, above all, Jewish patriotism.”

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How Judaism Is Like an iPhone

How Judaism Is Like an iPhone

Aug 23, 2008 By Marc Wolf | Commentary | Eikev

Since I am a self-professed “techno-junkie,” it took considerable restraint to wait the year for the second-generation iPhone to be released. Having read every review, followed its development on blogs, and waited patiently, only recently did I purchase my iPhone. Before it was in my hand I knew everything it was capable of, yet I was surprised by one aspect: its simplicity. As an Apple aficionado, I was expecting the attractive design, but after opening the box, I realized that there was one thing missing: a manual. The iPhone expects you to intuit its functions, discover its capabilities, and just use it.

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Technology and Torahs

Technology and Torahs

Aug 19, 2000 By Joshua Heller | Commentary | Eikev

One of the hazards of dealing with technology is its built–in obsolescence. The computer that you bought two years ago is suddently too slow, too short on memory to perform even the simplest task. It is true that the frenetic pace of change in today’s society accentuates the problem, but it is a fact of the natural world that every product of human hands has a limit to its useful lifespan.

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The Love of Israel

The Love of Israel

Aug 11, 2001 By Melissa Crespy | Commentary | Eikev

I cannot read certain verses from Parashat Ekev dispassionately this year. Not only is the prose of the Torah magnificently beautiful (as it is in much of Deuteronomy), but I have recently returned from a two week visit to Israel, and have personally witnessed almost all the bounties mentioned in these verses. My husband, 2–year old son, brother (a first–time visitor) and I walked through the lushness of Tel Dan in the north, and couldn’t help but be struck by the abundant flow of cool, clear water – even in the middle of July, and even at a time when Israel is suffering a major water shortage. In the dry, Negev desert, we observed the deep gorges which swell with water during the winter season. We saw countless date palm trees (the source of biblical “honey”), banana trees and olive trees in different parts of the country. We observed the green figs growing on the fig trees, and the vines being readied for the growth of grapes. We saw the fields which had been harvested for wheat, and we floated in the mineral rich Dead Sea. Living in a time where exaggeration and hyperbole run rampant, it was wonderful to see that the bountiful promises of the Torah about the Land of Israel are as true today as they were thousands of years ago.

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