Ekev – Rebuke
For the majority of our Perasha Moshe Rabienu reminds The Jews that they have not listened to G-d and have only angered him. In a dramatic statement Moshe says to them. You should know that not because of your own righteousness is G-d your lord giving you this good land to inherit, because you are a stiff necked people. Remember, never forget how you angered G-d your lord in the wilderness from the day you left Egypt until you came to this place, You were rebels against G-d. The Jewish People never did recognize all of the goodness G-d did for them. They were blinded by pettiness and short sightedness which we discussed two weeks ago. They did not appreciate all that G-d did for them. In our Perasha Moshe Rabeinu reminds the Jews how often they angered G-d with their pettiness.
He first told them about the golden calf. In the Story of the Golden Calf the Jews were petty and shortsighted. Just think about how petty they were. Moshe Rabienu said that he would come down from the mountain after forty days. They thought that he meant he would be back on the fortieth day. After just a short time after his expected return they went and made Golden Calf which was explicitly forbidden in the ten Commandments. Old traditions of worshipping idols die hard.
In our Perasha Moshe Rabienu reminds us that G-d Opened the earth and swallowed up Datan and Aviram. They were a thorn in Moshe Rabienu’s side from the beginning. According to the Midrash They were the two Jews were fighting in Egypt. When He tried to stop the fight they warned that they will squeal on him that he murdered the Egyptian who was abusing a Jew.
These two men personify pettiness and short-sightedness. They also abused Moshe Rabienu. I am sure that they had meetings to discuss him behind his back and did not give him opportunity to defend himself. They only came to him with complaints which they discussed in their meetings. Lashon Hara is not allowed even if you want to discuss a leader.
They made empty and false accusations that Moshe was after power. His only intention was to build the Jewish people into the most Just society and only because G-d commanded him to.
Scattered among his rebuke we see Moshe Rabienu telling the Jewish people that they are nothing. The land is only going to be given to them because the inhabitants are evil and because G-d loved the Jews righteous forefathers. The only way the Jews can become something is by studying and following the Torah.
The Perasha Starts and finishes off by saying that if the Jews will honestly watch the Torah and all of the Justice in it. If the will love G-d and stick to him you will receive the greatest blessing in the world. Not only will there be plenty of food to go around but you will be successful in business. It will be possible to breath a sigh and the gentiles in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon will run for the hill and give us their land as a present instead of the opposite which we are seeing today.
I once asked a very religious Psychologist if she thought that the Jews are special because their is something inherently different about them or is it following the Torah which makes them special. Unfortunately, She gave me the wrong answer. She said that the Jews are just different.
According to what we have learnt from our perasha the Jews are only special and will merit G-d’s help only if they follow the Torah. Only through following the Just ways of The Torah can Jews amount to something. That something which we get for following the Torah amounts to the best blessing in the world. Being Petty is the opposite of following the Torah and only leads to downfall and breakup.