Ekev (Deut. 7:12 – 11:25)

This week we read the second Haftarah of Consolation, Isaiah 49:14-51:3.  Fittingly, it contains text consoling and comforting Israel, reminding her that the Lord has not forgotten her.

In this week’s portion, Moses expands on his description of the life the Israelites are about to embark upon.  A summary is conveniently provided in a mere two verses in Ch.10: “12 And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God demand of you? Only this: to revere the Lord your God, to walk only in His paths, to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, 13 keeping the Lord’s commandments and laws, which I enjoin upon you today, for your good. ”  Naturally, Moses liberally provides details and commentary.  The land is indeed rich and wonderful, figuratively flowing with milk and honey, and they are promised fertility (of the land, livestock, people) and health and victory over the Canaanites, as long as the Israelites fulfill their end of the bargain.  But this isn’t because they’re so great themselves, as Moses reminds them.  First, the Canaanites behave contrary to the Lord’s wishes and so deserve displacement.  Second, the Lord is fulfilling an oath he made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  And the Israelites have misbehaved enough that it’s a miracle the Lord hasn’t destroyed them; Moses recalls the Golden Calf incident and how he smashed the tablets of the Law.  Yes, the nation is in fine shape to conquer Canaan, toughened by their wilderness upbringing, but they need to remember, especially when times are good, Who has enabled them to have \this good life.  They also need to remember their not-so-rosy national past; note that the fragments of the smashed tablets are kept in the Ark among with the second, whole set.  And they are to teach all this to their children down through the ages.
This is also the portion that contains the second paragraph of the Shema (11:13-21), which includes instructions concerning tefillin (11:18) and mezuzot (11:20).   And there are five references to love, the Lord’s love for the Israelites (already existing) and the Israelites’ love for the Lord (commanded).  My knowledgeable friend Stanley has told me that in Biblical vocabulary, “For the Bible, “love” is action, not an emotion.  Scholarship has demonstrated that in Deuteronomy, “love” means fidelity. loyalty, faithful obedience.  Plus, in the Biblical vocabulary, “heart” is the seat of the intellect while it is the “intestines” which are the seat of the emotions.” (Thank you, Stanley).  And I notice that there are 8 references to eating (or not eating), especially eating one’s fill, until one is satisfied (but also one to “eating” i.e., consuming, the enemy), which reminds me that next week’s portion deals with kosher and unkosher animals.  Yum.

Shabbat shalom,

Mezuzah [this looks kind of practical]
United States Patent 6006900
A mezuzah having a base portion which is permanently mountable to a doorway fixture, and having a housing portion with a bore in one of its ends for receiving a scroll bearing Biblical text therein, with the housing member being slidably engageable with the doorway mounted elongated base member. The lower, bore communicating end of the housing member abuts a sealing member of the base member upon engagement of the housing member to the base member to effectively seal the bore in which the scroll is disposed to prevent the scroll from falling out and to shelter the scroll. The scroll may be periodically checked for integrity or replaced by sliding the housing member off of the base member to gain easy access to the bore, with the housing member then slidable back onto the base member to secure the scroll in the housing member. A latch may be provided to selectively prevent slidable disengagement of the housing member from the base member.

What is a T-Sweater™?
A Teffilin Sweater is a special charcoal-gray, V-neck sweater with zippers on both sleeves. Just unzip in order to put on tefillin without taking off the sweater.

A Sweater with zippers? What’s the deal?
The T- Sweater is a great way to stay warm during daily Shacharit davening. You’re already dressed so why struggle to remove a sweater when you can just unzip, stay warm and Daven better in Sweater!

And after that, you can wear it all day. It’s made of medium weight material you’ll be comfortable; not too hot and not too cold!

Plus, the T- Sweater is made of 100% acrylic to it’s easy to care for. Just throw it in any warm wash!

[Apparently the patent application was published quite recently and is at http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20100138976]


“Remember where you came from, where you’re going, and why you created this mess you got yourself into in the first place.”
Richard Bach (Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah)


The past is what you remember, imagine you remember, convince yourself you remember, or pretend you remember.
Harold Pinter

It’s always good to remember where you come from and celebrate it. To remember where you come from is part of where you’re going.
Anthony Burgess

Why can we remember the tiniest detail that has happened to us, and not remember how many times we have told it to the same person.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Remember that it is not where you come from, or not even where you are; it is where you are going that matters most.
Bo Bennett

Saving the best for last:

And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.


Mezuzah Joke

by Laura Posted: 01-14-2007(Viewed 5665 times)

A wealthy Jewish man buys a fabulous home in Beverly Hills, California .  He brings in a local workman to decorate the place.

When the job is finished, the homeowner is  delighted but realizes that he’s forgotten to put mezuzahs on the doors.

He goes out and buys 50 mezuzahs and asks the decorator to place them on the right hand side of each door except bathrooms.

He’s really worried that the decorator will chip the paint work or won’t put them up correctly.  However, when he comes back a few hours later, he sees
that the job has been carried out to his entire satisfaction. He’s so pleased that he gives the decorator a bonus.

As the decorator is walking out of the door he says, “Glad you’re happy with the job.”  “By the way, I took out all the warranties from the little boxes
and left them on your table.

There’s also a cute little video with a similar slant at http://revver.com/video/220546/your-doorbell-is-broken/



An angry God was standing at the foot of Mount Sinai. Moses had just descended. At the foot of the mountain lay the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, shattered in a thousand pieces. “What have you done?” demanded God. “Didn’t I tell you to deliver the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel?”
“Yes, Lord,” said Moses. “But a man dressed in a brown robe in a flying brown chariot with gold letters on the side appeared to me at the top of the mountain. He told me he would deliver the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel. I thought you sent him.”
“I most certainly did not,” said God. “What were the letters on the side of this chariot?”
Moses stooped and wrote three letters in the sand. Pointing at them, he pronounced, “Oops” (UPS).


Meet the Captain America of Israel [excerpt]
[OK, so the desert generation wasn’t technically the first group of sabras (native-born Israelis), but they share some common attributes, like toughness, so I thought this was apropos.]

With the superhuman abilities of strength, speed and agility, this mutant superhero and former secret agent has one goal: the defense of her country. For Ruth Bat-Seraph, also known by her alias Sabra, that country happens to be Israel.

Marvel Comics created Sabra in the 1970s, but up until now she has appeared only as a supporting character alongside Marvel greats like the Incredible Hulk and the X-Men.

On July 1 this will change, with the print publication of Sabra’s first headlining appearance in the Marvel anthology Astonishing Tales #6. In the story, which can currently be viewed in digital format online, Sabra is attending a diplomatic reception when she meets Yael, a young Israeli girl about to begin her military service. …”Like many Israeli teens, Yael looks up to Sabra in much the same way patriotic Americans would [to] Captain America: she’s someone who wears her country’s flag to protect the world,” explains Marvel editor Mike Horwitz.
Sabra’s first solo appearance is the work of Matt Yocum, who by day serves as the US Air Force’s representative to the Israeli government, and by night writes comic books.
From 2002:
[dead link]

One desert traveler to another:

“Actually I’m from the land of milk and honey…..but for dietary reasons, I’m moving to the land of non-dairy and sugar-free.”

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