This week’s Parsha, Ekev, is filled with good teachings, love and hopefulness. It starts off with how doing the smallest of Mitzvot will invite God’s love and promise. We learn that Mitzvot, great or small, hold the secret for having a loving relationship with the Life of the Universe, in spite of dark times. Doing a Mitzvah with consciousness enhances relationships with the Highest because of their power in the social and natural realms to create a more just and compassionate world.
8:11. “Be careful not to forget God…”. During this pandemic many of us see more clearly that we cannot take the credit for all that is good in our lives. We cannot take anything for granted. We have benefited more than most people. What does it mean to “forget God?” Do we forget God when we forget the poor, the disabled, those of color and the immigrants?
The Parsha contains the instruction to each individual “you shall eat and you shall be sated, and you shall bless the Ineffable One, your God, for the good land that has been given to you ” (8:10)
This spring and summer we have become much more conscious of food, our sources of food, the timely delivery of food and, increasingly aware of those who are lacking. My wife and I are eating healthier, cooking a lot more, truly enjoying the fresh summer vegetables, especially, corn, tomatoes, squash and kale. Almost every week we have freshly baked challah. Food is nourishment for the soul. Food is of the soul of the Creator. But how often do we acknowledge that? We eat, we are satisfied, but do we offer a blessing?
Other spiritual traditions may take a moment of silence to reflect on the power of food to nourish their souls and their bodies. We may know of people who live in poverty who say grace before they eat. We have brachot, but we hardly ever evoke them. Saying a bracha, or just pausing, taking a breath, is a way of receiving the Life Giver’s love, remembering the journey from earth to farmer to supermarkets and to us. And how do we return that love? By doing mitzvot.
In the Parsha we are also called upon to “circumcise the foreskin of our hearts” blocking this awareness and from service to others. Finally, the Parsha recounts a lot of the earlier history of our people’s journey. Remembering the past, know our history, is so important. Recently, a first cousin once removed, called to discuss family history. He asked for more background and photographs of relatives. So, I spent a couple of hours going through some family albums and boxes of photos. The time spent remembering the roots of my family and numerous family life cycle events and gatherings over the years was so powerful. My cousin is about to have his first child. He reminded me how we need to take the time to reflect with our families and recall our heritage. Brachot to all Reb David