A SHORT STUDY OF AKEV, Deut. 7:12- 11:25.
Moshe now turns to the fate of the COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE- its reward and punishment is NOT so long delayed; its wealth, health, and victory are directly linked to its OVERALL sensitive connection to God and Torah (Rav S.R. Hirsch). Destruction and exile are the fate of those who profane the land of Israel- the 7 nations are about to be evicted by God- everyone's Landlord.
Unlimited blessings accompany Israel in Israel, if they live according to the Torah. As in Egypt, God will fight for a vastly outnumbered Israel. The enemy will gradually be destroyed as Israel increases its population, lest wild animals take over.
CH. 8: Moshe urges Israel to remember their hard desert trek; as the mitzvos, it's basic training for their sacrificial historic role as God's Kingdom of Priests. He praises the good land, for which God is constantly to be thanked. Wealth makes one forget Him, amidst baseless megalomania. Nature abhors a spiritual vacuum; so idolatry, the currently fashionable "ism", replaces God.
CH. 9: Moshe himself warns the Jews of their gigantic Canaanite future foes- but God's infinitely bigger! Rebellious Israel doesn't deserve Israel, but they get it as descendants of the Patriarchs and to save God's good name. Moshe recalls the tragic tale of the Golden Calf, from which his prayers saved Israel and Aharon.
CH. 10: Moshe gets the 2nd tablets, the Levites are chosen, and Israel resumes its journey toward the conquest of Israel. God needs nothing from Man- all that He wants from Israel, who witnessed so many miracles, is awareness of His Presence and their own divinity, to be evinced by lives of kindness, faith, and justice.
CH. 11: Love of God is expressed in following his commandments, reinforced by His open reward and punishment from Exodus on. God takes special note of Jewish conduct in Israel- their conquest, success and perpetuation are linked to strict communal adherance to the Torah in the second paragraph of Shma (11:13ff): "THAT YOUR DAYS AND THOSE OF YOUR CHILDREN BE GREAT ONES, UPON THE LAND WHICH GOD SWORE TO YOUR FATHERS TO GIVE TO THEM, AS DAYS OF HEAVEN UPON EARTH (11:21; TO THEM, your fathers, not TO YOU; these words are a hint of resurrection of the dead Patriarchs- Rashi)
IN THE HAFTORA, Is. 49:14- 51:3, the Jews complain that God has abandoned them, after He sent OTHERS to console them in Is. 40; cf. a parent whose secretary sends a check to his son who's in trouble, without a note from Daddy. He assures them that He has not divorced Israel and gives them a vision of true FUTURE reconciliation: WHEN GOD WILL HAVE COMFORTED ZION, HE WILL HAVE COMFORTED ALL THEIR RUINS AND MADE HER DESERT (the Negev?) AS EDEN AND HER WILDERNESS AS A GARDEN OF GOD. JOY AND GLADNESS WILL BE FOUND IN HER, THANKSGIVING AND THE VOICE OF SONG (51:3). God and Israel finally reunite 5 haftoros later.
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