Parashat Ekev // “Follow the Rules”

- ח ע מ -

What steps must we take in order to become righteous?

The purpose of fulfilling God’s commandments and improving our behavior is to refine our heart

“Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers…He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt” Deut. 10:18 – 19

  • Moses stresses the importance of performing acts of kindness for foreigners, orphans, and widows. The purpose of rectifying our ways and engaging in spiritual work is to refine and purify our hearts and perfect our personality. The more we learn and do kind deeds, the greater our passion for learning will be. There is no greater privilege than being able to give: “For the reward for performing a commandment is another commandment, and the reward for committing a transgression is a transgression” (Mishnah, Tractate of Avot 4:2). If we cannot perform certain good actions ourselves, we should at least surround ourselves with those who can. By opening our hearts and approaching benevolent individuals, we can indulge in their light.

Spiritual work and love

“And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full. Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived” Deut. 11:13 – 16

  • Our spiritual work should always be carried out with love, not only in certain aspects of our routine, but all of the time – at home, while driving, during social encounters, etc. For us to tap into spiritual abundance, we must share our love with others – and do so for a considerable amount of time.
  • “If, then, you listen” (Deuteronomy 11:13). This is a call to listen to each other and God. To “listen” means to open our hearts and our awareness. This stands in stark contrast to other cultures, where sight is the dominant sense. It is only when we listen to others that we can understand them, show solidarity, learn, and receive the good things they have to offer. Active listening opens hearts and creates new worlds.

Pearls of Divine Wisdom: “Follow the Rules”

  • The manner in which we receive our blessings is of vital importance. Any good we are given is a portion of light that comes directly to us from higher spheres. Therefore, we need to be extremely thankful for our fortunes.
  • The purpose of our life is to reveal and increase light in our world. When we bless and give thanks, we enable this light that we have received to return to us in the future. However, if we don’t “give it back” (through gratitude), it will be stored and kept away from us.
  • The key to increasing light is humility. We need to remember that we are not the source of blessings and success in this world. All we can do is try to fulfill our purpose by expanding our share of abundance and rewarding our benefactors.
  • The operating system of the spiritual world is a closed circuit of light. Giving is followed by receiving – and vice versa. Blessings are our main tool for shifting from a judgmental approach to all – out optimism.
  • The purpose of rectifying our ways and engaging in spiritual work is to refine and  purify our hearts and perfect our personality. We must persistently and gladly aspire to achieve this over long periods of time.  

Joy is feeling the light of the Creator.