Ariel Ben Avraham
Ariel Ben Avraham

Parshat Eikev: Because we have to love

In previous commentaries we have insisted that there is not such a thing as the apparent conditionality of God’s love, because all conditions exist on our behalf.

We also have repeated that love is its cause and effect, its instant reward. In this sense we understand the first verse of this portion.

“(…) because (eikev) you will heed these ordinances and keep them and perform, that the Lord your God will keep for you the covenant and the loving kindness He swore to your forefathers.” (Deuteronomy 7:12)

Also the meaning of His covenant and loving kindness.

“(…) He will love you, and bless you, and multiply you (…)” (7:13)

Thus, as long as we walk in His ways and attributes, His love is also with us. The covenant is always present as God’s love is omnipresent and omniscient, and it’s up to us to be aware of this truth.

We are Israel and such as we are bound to fulfill our part of the covenant, the alliance that defines our identity as Jews, and our greatest blessing.

“You shall be blessed above all peoples. (…) There will be no sterile male or barren female among you or among your livestock.” (7:14)

These means no lack, no inadequacies.

“And the Lord will remove from you all illness, and all of the evil diseases of Egypt which you know, He will not set upon you, but He will lay them upon all your enemies.” (7:15)

The lack and emptiness of ego’s materialistic desires and illusions (Egypt) are our diseases, and love makes us aware that those illusions live from their own lack.

For most of us, living in ego’s illusions is easier than accepting the truthfulness of love. Thousands of years conditioning our intellect, mind, emotions, feelings, passions and instincts under the mirages of an egotistic approach to life can’t be overcome overnight.

It may take also many centuries to overturn the negative patterns (“the nations”) imprinted in humankind’s genetic memory. The good news is that love is the cure for our illnesses.

“And the Lord your God will drive out those nations from before you, little by little. You will not be able to destroy them quickly, lest the beasts of the field outnumber you.” (7:22)

The fire of God’s love in us can transform darkness and negativity into love’s ways and attributes in all levels and dimensions of our consciousness, hence in our surroundings.

“The graven images of their gods you will burn in fire (…)” (7:25)

This is the way to return again to the kind of life God’s love wants for us. A life that affirms that we are created in His image and likeness

“(…) a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, you will lack nothing in it (…). And you will eat and be sated, and you shall bless the Lord, your God, for the good land He has given you.” (8:9-10)

Time and again we are warned throughout the entire Torah about the consequences of separating our consciousness from God’s ways and attributes. This separation only happens when we let ego’s materialistic agenda to rule our lives.

“(…) and you will say to yourself, ‘My strength and the might of my hand that has accumulated this wealth for me’.” (8:17)

Also, time and again the way to return to God’s ways and attributes is always paved and cleared for us.

“But you must remember the Lord your God, for it is He that gives you strength to make wealth, in order to establish His covenant which He swore to your forefathers, as it is this day.” (8:18)

Such a simple and plain truth overshadowed by our false sense of self-sufficiency!

We have to be aware that, while ego quenches its thirst with the waters of materialistic illusions, love sustains us directly from our Creator. As our true essence and identity, God’s love settles us in the delights of His ways and attributes.

“For the land into which you go (…) drinks water of the rain of heaven.” (11:10-11)

Once we enthrone love’s ways in all levels of consciousness, we are fully satiated with prosperity, joy, happiness, and abundance.

“I will give grass in your fields for your livestock, so that you may eat and be full.” (11:15)

Let’s never forget that loving our Creator and our attachment to Him are two of His commandments in order for us to keep His covenant.

“(..) to love the Lord your God, (…) to cleave to Him.” (11:22, 10:20)

The prophet also reminds us that in our love the love of God is our sole redeemer in all times.

“For the Lord shall console Zion, He shall console all her ruins, and He shall make her desert like a paradise, and her wasteland like the garden of the Lord; joy and happiness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and a voice of song.” (Isaiah 51:3)


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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