Eikev, Ekev, Ekeb, or Eqeb (עקב — Hebrew for “if [you follow],” the second word, and the first distinctive word, in the parshah) is the 46th weekly Torah portion (parshah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the third in the book of Deuteronomy. It comprises Deuteronomy 7:12–11:25. Jews in the Diaspora generally read it in August.
Ekev is named Ekev (עקב), a word from the first verse of the portion. Deuteronomy 7:12 says, “Then it shall come about, because (ekev, עקב) you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that HaShem your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers.” Usually the word ekev means “heel.” In fact, this word shares the same three-letter root as the name Jacob (Yaakov, יעקב), whose name actually means “heel.” He was born holding on to Esau’s heel. However, in Deuteronomy 7:12, the word ekev means “on the heels of” or “because of.” This portion of Deuteronomy speaks of the rewards that will come to Israel on the heels of keeping God’s covenant and commandments.
Note: On the Shabbat the Torah Reading is divided into 7 sections. Each section is called an Aliya [literally: Go up] since for each Aliya, one person “goes up” to make a bracha [blessing] on the Torah Reading. Here are this week`s aliyot:
1st Aliyah: Moshe details the general rewards for following the Torah, and encourages the nation to have complete confidence in HaShem’s protection. Moshe forewarns them of the dangers in being overly confident and commands them in the Mitzvah of Birkas Hamazon / Thanking God after meals (8:10).
2nd Aliyah: Moshe warns them regarding the pitfalls of prosperity and idolatry, and exhorts them to remain humble in the face of their guaranteed victories. God is the one who deserves the credit!
3rd Aliyah: In order to illustrate his point, Moshe reviews the incident of the Golden Calf. He explains why God, being a God of Justice, will grant the Bnai Yisrael a victory over the inhabitants of Canaan. Not because the Jews are deserving, but because the Seven Nations deserve to be punished for their own evil actions. The actions of the Bnai Yisrael during the 40 years, such as the Golden Calf, should have resulted in the Jews’ destruction. It was three factors which kept them alive and well so that they could inherit the land.
- HaShem’s promise to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov.
- The Chillul HaShem– desecration of God’s name–that would have occurred among the other nations who would question God’s ability to protect His nation.
- Moshe’s begging for HaShem’s forgiveness.
4th Aliyah: Moshe finishes the story of the Golden Calf by retelling the giving of the Second Luchot (tablets).
5th Aliyah: Moshe poses the famous rhetorical question of, “What does God want… follow His ways…” and describes other instances of HaShem’s demanding justice.
Rashi says that from these words the Talmud (Tractate Berachos 33) concludes that "Everything is in the hands of Heaven except for the fear of Heaven". Another way to put this is that everything is Divine Providence, except for our fear of God in our choice to do mitzvahs or averahs (sins). In the rest of this aliyah, Moshe Rabeinu expounds on God’s greatness and tells the Jewish people to love and fear God.
6th Aliyah: Moshe describes the nature of Eretz Yisrael as demanding and responsive to our following the Torah. The second Parsha of Shema is recorded.
7th Aliya: Moshe promises the nation total victory if they listen to the Mitzvot and follow the ways of the HaShem.
In the seventh aliyah the Jews are told that if we observe all that God tells us to do, then we will easily occupy the land of Israel, and that no man will stand up against us. Then the boundaries of the land of Israel are given here.
Tags: 5.Book of Dvarim, aliya, Aliyah, aliyot, All Torah Portions, book of deuteronomy, Deuteronomy 11:29-32, Deuteronomy 27:1-7, Deutoronomy 7:12, distinctive word, eikev, Ekev, first verse, forefathers, god is the one, Israel, lovingkindness, mdash, moshe, Mount Ebal, Mount Gerizim, Parasha Ekev, parshah, rsquo, second word, Shabbat, thanking god, Torah, Torah Reading, Weekly Parasha, weekly torah portion
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