Eikev: Conditions of the Promised Land (II)

“But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He that gives you power to get wealth, so He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:18)

All the goodness the Creator promised the children of Israel converges in the land He gave them, hence goodness is the power to acquire more of it. Thus we assimilate the covenant between Him and His people. In this context we reflect on goodness as the bond between God and His creation in general, and with Israel in particular.

Being God’s chosen means being chosen to emulate His ways and attributes as the means to make goodness prevail in human consciousness. This also means that there is nothing whimsical about God choosing the roots of goodness (the Jewish patriarchs) to establish His covenant with them and their descendants.

In the “eyes” of God, and also in the eyes of the nations, the people of Israel are expected to fulfill their part of such covenant, no matter how difficult it may be while dealing with the negative traits and trends derived from ego’s fantasies and illusions that are equal opportunity seducers for everyone, either Jewish or not.

This covenant about goodness implies an unconditional choice, for there is nothing questionable or conditional in goodness, except being good for its own sake. Thus we understand the next verse in this portion.

“And it shall be, if you shall forget the Lord your God and walk after other gods, and serve them and worship them, I forewarn you this day that you shall surely perish.” (8:19)

This condition sounds pretty much like this one.

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it; for in the day that you eat there, you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:17)

The difference between the tree of life and the one mentioned in this verse is that the former is unconditional, for it is the tree that sustains life regardless of anything else which would be an added value to life. The later tree is bound to choosing between two opposite approaches to life.

God warned Adam about the hassles of living with a dual consciousness with which one constantly has to choose between right and wrong, positive and negative, true and false, et al; as a way of being dead, as the verse indicates. A lesson to consider here is that living with hassles doesn’t make life worth living, except for those who believe that living among evil ways and negative situations gives sense to life.

Knowing good and evil is not necessarily a negative situation, as long as we also know to make the right decisions when it comes to choose between both. We have mentioned often that having or not having free will is not the issue. The issue is to exercise free will once we know quite enough what is in front of us to choose from.

In this context we understand what the verse points out to when God says that choosing (“eating from”) the dual consciousness (“knowledge”) of good and evil implies dying to the higher consciousness of living only in goodness as the tree of life.

Moses warned the children of Israel as God warned Adam, this time in regards to ego’s fantasies and illusions as the roots of evil ways, and negative traits and trends in human consciousness.

These are the gods to serve and worship in which we surely die in living a meaningless life, after forgetting God’s ways and attributes as the qualities of goodness that give sense to who we are and what we live for.

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Kochav Yaakov.
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