This week we study Parashat Ekev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25).
* This world is filled with goodness and you should enjoy it. You should have children. Having kids is a sign of optimism.
* Deut. 7:15: God will remove from you every illness. Is this true?
In a sense, if you don’t do destructive things like man-on-man bareback buttsex, you’ll likely be spared all sorts of diseases such as AIDS. Don’t share intravenous needles.
* No wonder that Jews have so much confidence. God tells them that if they follow Him, they will be the most blessed of peoples.
* Tapping into the wisdom of the Torah brings success, whether you are a Jew or a Gentile. Look at LeBron James who brought a rabbi with him to a major business transaction. The Torah is a book of wisdom and much of the wisdom is transmitted through its laws. The Torah is sacred to Christians as well as to Jews. If Muslims tapped into their Jewish roots, they’d become successful too.
* Deut. 8:9 “You will eat bread without poverty.” I can’t think of anything in Torah that says poverty is good. Material success is a worthy pursuit so long as it is done in accord with God’s commandments. Poverty sucks. Hunger sucks. Suffering sucks.
Artscroll: “The Land will have a thriving economy that will provide its population with the means to purchase whatever commodities they need.”
* Deut. 8:11. How can you know if someone believes in God? By how they behave. Do they observe God’s commandments?
If you believe in God, how would people know it from your behavior?
* Deut. 9:1. “You will drive out nations greater and mightier than you.” Reminds me of the success of the IDF against Israel’s more numerous enemies.
* Just like 3,200 years ago, Jews are once again in a conflict for the land of Israel with people who sacrifice their children to their gods.
* Moshe tells the Jews that they are not getting the land of Israel because they are so righteous. This has echoes to this day. It was secular Jews who founded the modern state of Israel.
* Moshe had an unparalleled relationship with God and yet he was angry and miserable much of the time. So you can have an amazing relationship with God and it is not enough. We need people too.