A Legacy of Peace

A Legacy of Peace

Jul 30, 2021 By Marcus Mordecai Schwartz | Commentary | Eikev

Why do we still need kohanim? What purpose do hereditary priests—the descendants of Aaron—serve in a culture that appoints religious leaders based primarily on education? Whatever authority rabbis have stems mostly from their knowledge and individual personalities, but the kohanim inherit theirs. Leviticus 21 describes the kohanim as a holy caste who, due to nothing other than heredity, assume the religious leadership of B’nei Yisrael. Their heritage is not land, like the other clans of Israel; rather, their legacy is God, Sanctuary, and sacrifice alone.

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A Moment That Is Always Present

A Moment That Is Always Present

Aug 7, 2020 By Benjamin D. Sommer | Commentary | Eikev

Parashat Eikev is surrounded by matching bookends. The verse that ends the previous parashah, Va’et-ḥannan, and the verse that begins the subsequent parashah, Re’eh, both contain the word, hayyom, or “today.”

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A Land That’s Too Good?

A Land That’s Too Good?

Aug 23, 2019 By Nicole Wilson-Spiro | Commentary | Eikev

I received a call one evening this summer from the doctor at Ramah Palmer. My son had tripped, and she wanted permission to bring him off camp the next day to have his swollen wrist x-rayed. Of course! But by the next morning I had convinced myself that I should pick him up from camp and bring him to our local orthopedist. I even convinced my husband that this would be best for insurance, since our orthopedist is in our insurance network. Unfortunately for me, the camp’s local hospital also turned out to be in our network. Truthfully, I wanted him to come home because I wanted to see him with my own eyes to make sure he was OK. My son is eleven, and he was hurt badly enough that he needed x-rays.

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Would Our Mother Forget Us?

Would Our Mother Forget Us?

Aug 3, 2018 By Benjamin D. Sommer | Commentary | Eikev

This Shabbat is the second of the seven Shabbatot of consolation that follow Tishah Be’av, and, as on all these Shabbatot, its haftarah comes from the last part of the book of Isaiah. These are highly appropriate passages to console us after we commemorate the destruction of Jerusalem, because they were written by a prophet who lived in exile roughly a generation after the Babylonian empire demolished the Jerusalem Temple, destroyed the Judean state, and exiled much of its population. 

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Just One Mitzvah

Just One Mitzvah

Aug 11, 2017 By Noah Bickart | Commentary | Eikev

At the heart of this week’s parashah, we find the following:

All the commandments (כָּל־הַמִּצְוָה) which I command you this day shall you take care to do, that you may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your fathers. And you shall remember all the ways (כָּל־הַדֶּרֶךְ) which the Lord your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments, or not. (Deut. 8:1–2)

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Walking in God’s Paths

Walking in God’s Paths

Aug 11, 2017 By Tim Daniel Bernard | Commentary | Eikev

Walking at our own pace creates an unadulterated feedback loop between the rhythm of our bodies and our mental state that we cannot experience as easily when we’re jogging at the gym, steering a car, biking, or during any other kind of locomotion. . . . When we choose a path through a city or forest, our brain must survey the surrounding environment, construct a mental map of the world, settle on a way forward, and translate that plan into a series of footsteps.

—Ferris Jabr, “Why Walking Helps Us Think,” The New Yorker (September 2014)

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Moshe Learns to Say Good-bye

Moshe Learns to Say Good-bye

Aug 26, 2016 By Rachel Rosenthal | Commentary | Eikev

One last time
the people will hear from me
one last time
and if we get this right
we’re gonna teach ’em how to say
goodbye.
You and I—

—George Washington in Hamilton: An American Musical

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Love the Stranger

Love the Stranger

Aug 26, 2016 By Ethan Linden | Commentary | Eikev

In our parashah this week we find an odd statement masquerading as banal—a revolutionary idea that at first glance seems familiar, but is something else entirely. In Deuteronomy 10:19 the Torah commands: “Ve-ahavtem et hager ki gerim hayitem be-eretz mitzrayim” (“Love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt”).

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When is Fear Positive?

When is Fear Positive?

Aug 20, 2011 By Andrew Shugerman | Commentary | Text Study | Eikev

Fears of crisis have filled the news this summer: political gridlock and epic heat waves here in the United States; economic woes on this continent, as well as across Europe; riots in Great Britain; the massacre in Norway; and social upheaval continuing across North Africa and the Middle East.

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The Root of All Blessing

The Root of All Blessing

Aug 12, 2006 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Eikev

Loyalty to covenant and the observance of mitzvot are the theme of Parashat Eikev. Even more movingly (and especially at this time of distress in Israel), the parashah speaks of the beauty and blessing of the land of Israel. In addition to enumerating the seven species (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates), Torah relates: “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams and springs and fountains issuing from plain and hill . . . a land where you may eat food without stint, and where you will lack nothing” (Deuteronomy 8:7–10). 

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