This weeks reading starts off with Moshe stressing a promise to the Jews that if they are to fulfill the different mitzvot, they will prosper not just in this world but also in the world to come. One should view every potential mitzvah that can be observed as absolute precious. One should not neglect even a tiny mitzvah that could be performed. In fact, the Talmud states that honoring the fulfillment of a mitzvah at its time is greater than honoring the Torah (Kiddushin 33a)!
This Parshah promises many worldly benefits if a Jew keeps the mitzvot, including that Hashem will love us, he will provide us with abundant blessing and multiply us. Hashem also promised that he would bless the fruit of our womb (Devarim 7:13), he gave a blessing in connection to the products of our grounds, fields, such as an abundance of grain, wine and oil.
Moshe then warned the children of Israel not to forget Hashem at any stage and not to become self reliant even when they were to move to the land of Canaan. Moshe started describing how Hashem miraculously led the Jews around the wilderness, providing the Mann (heavenly bread) and the well of Miriam accompanying them on the way. In fact being supplied with the Mann was a great demonstration of the Jews greatness in their faith in Hashem in the wilderness, one should emulate that nowadays, in that everything that is run in this world is by Hashem, in every aspect that we do.
A beautiful few verses in chapter 23 of the book of Tehillim states, ‘Hashem is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing, he causes me to rest in pastures of grass, he causes my soul to be tranquil, even though I walk in the shadow of death, I shall not fear evil, for you are with me, you prepare a table for me in the face of my enemies. (Tehillim 23:1-5)’ This beautiful chapter in Tehillim shows how he protects us the way a loving father protects his child.
The Torah then relates the seven species that the land of Israel is praised for, they are; Wheat, Barley, Grapes, Figs, Pomegranates, Olives and last but not least, Dates (Devarim 8:8). In fact we observed around six months ago the festival of Tu B’Shevat, this is a festival that praises the land for these species. There is no greater sign of the coming redemption than when the Land of Israel produces fruits in abundance, fruits such as these, which the land is praised for (Sanhedrin 98a).
Next up, the parshah relates the mitzvah to bless Hashem after eating bread, Birkat Hamazon also known in English as Grace after meals. The Torah commands us to ‘Bless Hashem after you have eaten and are satiated. (Devarim 8:10)’ In fact we go much better than the Biblical command and give four separate blessings, they are; The blessing to him who nourishes all creatures, the blessing over the land, the blessing of peace of Jerusalem and the Temple and the final blessing is to him who is kind and does good (Berachot 21a). This forth and final blessing alludes to the miracle that happened many years after the destruction of the Second Beit Hamikdash, when many corpses did not decay and stayed in a full fleshed condition many years after the Jewish people were murdered, they were then given the honor of a proper burial. This occurred in the city of Beitar (Taanit 31a).
Moshe then continued to reprove the Jews for their part in the transgression of the Golden Calf, relating how he smashed the two tablets of stone (Devarim 9:17) when discovering that the Jews were dancing around with joy around the calf.
Moshe then gives a blessing that the Jews should always fear Hashem and straight after ordering the fear (Devarim 10:12), he commanded them on the mitzvah to love a converted Jew properly (Devarim 10:19). There were many righteous converts throughout Jewish history, including, Shemayah and Avtalyon (Yoma 71b), Onkelos (the nephew of the Roman emperor, Hadrian), other Jews from converted families included, Jeremiah and Yechezkiel, both of them descending from Rachav.
The Torah then gives the commandment to pray to Hashem and then Moshe reiterates that the Jews were to conquer the land of Israel and prosper only on the condition that they were to keep to the commandments of the Torah.
Moshe concluded the Parshah relating how one should always revise over what Torah studies they learn, since the way to learn something properly is, is that one needs to go over it over and over again, also they may get fresh insights into the piece of Torah they are learning over again (Succah 46b).
This Parshah also features the second paragraph of the Shema (Devarim 11:13-21), discussing the blessings provided with the keeping of the commandments and the curses that results from non-observance of the commandments.
The Haftorah for his weeks reading comes once again from the book of Isaiah, Chapters 49 to 51 (Isaiah 49:14-51:3).
Please everyone pray and say Tehillim so that Shimon Ben Esther, will not be deported from his country, as he is a loving man, with a wife and 3 children who contribute a huge amount of good to society.