In this portion the Torah keeps reminding us about our bond with the Creator as our greatest blessing and strength (Deuteronomy 7:12-24), warning us about the consequences of idol worship as our curse and weakness (7:25-26), and our duty and obligation to eradicate them from every aspect of our consciousness in the material world. This bond with God through His Commandments is the foundation and the source of our life, understanding life as the blessing and goodness that God’s love gives us to enjoy in this world (8:1) after He redeemed us from slavery in Egypt (8:2-3).
The constant awareness of God as our One and sole Source of life and Redeemer is what reminds us who we are and from where we come. This is our truth. God’s love is our essence and identity, and as long as we live in His ways and attributes we are indeed alive. This is how we understand that love is life and life is love as long as we live by, for, in and with God’s ways and attributes.
This is the greatest lesson of all to learn, that God’s love is our only and true sustenance, as it is written: “(…) that He might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every thing that comes out of the mouth of the Lord makes man live.” (8:3) because His words precede what is manifest in His Creation. In a deeper meaning, our life and support are sustained directly by His will, and not by our perception of the sustenance we find in the material world. In other words, our life depends solely on Him.
We assimilated this principle through the forty years that our ancestors spent in the desert (8:4) and is the premise to live our bond with God in the world, in the time and space He promised them, which we know as the Promised Land (8:6-9). This Land is the material manifestation of God’s love for Israel in which we are entitled and commanded to live in His ways, in order for us to be always close to Him.
Let’s be aware that the Promised Land is the material realization of our bond with God as our blessing, identity and purpose in life. He blessed this Land, therefore we bless Him. By blessing Him we acknowledge not only what we are but what He is for us and His entire Creation. The most succinct, clear, direct and effective way to realize our identity and bond with God is summarized in the four blessings we say in our Grace after Meals (Bircat HaMazon) as commanded to us: “And you shall eat and be satisfied, and bless the Lord your God for the good Land which He has given you.” (8:10). In these blessings we become aware that all sustenance comes from God’s love, that our sustenance and our Land is our bond with Him, that in our Land we have Jerusalem as our eternal and undivided capital and also as the highest awareness of our connection to Him. This bond is fully manifest in the Redemption promised by God through His prophets, which is enthroning the Messianic era in the world.
God’s love, through our highest knowledge of Him represented by Moses, warns us time and again not to forget who we are and from where we came (8:11-16). He makes us remind that our oblivion is named after ego’s fantasies and illusions: “and you say in your heart: ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth’.” (8:17-18). This is the time in consciousness when we have to decide on what side we fight between ego’s individualistic desires and love’s ways and attributes. We already know their differences, we have experienced them both, and the choice is ours. Either we live and die in ego’s fantasies and illusions (“other gods to serve and to worship”) as it is written (8:19), or we live forever in God’s ways and attributes which transcend time and space, life and death.
God’s ways and attributes are our true life, and they are also our power and strength to defeat the negative aspects of consciousness that keep us captive in ego’s illusions: “Know therefore this day, that the Lord your God is He who goes over before you as a devouring fire; He will destroy them, and He will bring them down before you; so shall you drive them out, and make them to perish quickly, as the Lord has spoken to you.” (9:3). The fire of God’s love is with us to burn our negative traits and trends, and the choice is ours to drive them out steadfast and erase them completely.
The Promised Land is the place and time that God has chosen for Him to dwell in the material world. This is why He removed the corrupted nations from its midst. The Torah makes this point clear when He says this through Moses: “(…) whereas for the wickedness of these nations the Lord does drive them out from before you. Not for your righteousness, or for the uprightness of your heart, does you go in to possess their land (…)” (9:4). This is to demonstrate us again that He controls His Creation, including what is negative and corrupted before His eyes.
At this point is quite clear that the negative aspects of consciousness can be more powerful than our will to defeat them. This is why we need God’s love to fight our wars in order to live in the Land where He wants us to build a place for Him to dwell among (in) us. Moses continues reminding us our tendency to bow to ego’s materialist desires and fantasies, represented by idols (9:12-24).
We divorce materialistic illusions by becoming permanently aware our connection with the Creator: “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to revere the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (10:10), because our love is our bond with His love.
When we petrify our hearts in the attachment to the mirages of the material world, the Torah and our prophets remind us to return to a heart of flesh and purify it from the negative trends of consciousness: “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff necked.” (10:16). Hence when we return to love as our essence and true identity, we also return to God’s love and His attributes: “He does execute justice for the fatherless and widow, and loves the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. You shall love the stranger; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (10:18-19), because “He is your Glory, He is your God.” (10:21).