Ekev: The Holy Confidence of the Land of Israel

How many things are we directed to always remember? At the end of the services in many prayer books, there are six remembrances that by custom are recited daily. But there is also a more complete list that has ten remembrances (on which Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev wrote commentary). One of those remembrances is a verse from this week’s parashah, “And you shall remember Havayah your God, for it is He Who gives you the strength to be successful.”[1]

This is the “Remembrance of the Land of Israel” (זְכִירַת אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל) for we are commanded to follow it in conjunction with the gift of receiving the Land of Israel. The preceding verses read, “And you shall eat and you shall be satiated and you shall bless Havayah your God for the good land that He gave you. Beware lest you forget Havayah your God…lest you eat and be satiated and you build good homes and you settle…and your heart will be lifted up and you will forget Havayah your God…and you will say in your heart ‘It is my prowess and the strength of my hand that has brought me all this success.”[2] Do not say that. Rather, remember that it is God that gives you the strength to succeed.

With these verses, the Torah is not directing us to feel nebech (weak) and ineffective and to think that we have no strength, no abilities, and no energy. It is not instructing us to remain passive and to wait for God to do everything for us. On the contrary. The Almighty wants us to know that He has granted us all the power, all the abilities, all the energy needed to be successful in every good endeavor we set ourselves upon. We should be full of confidence, holy confidence, that there is nothing we cannot attain. But remember that it is God that gives you the power to succeed. This confidence is especially connected to the Land of Israel—the Land of action. In the Land of Israel, we fulfill the Torah and the mitzvot in their complete form. It is here that God gives us our inheritance within tangible, physical reality to serve as a platform for our efforts and endeavors.

The rectified consciousness of the remembrance of the Land of Israel provides us with holy self-confidence. You can rely on your own strength, take action and initiative with confidence that you will succeed—for inside, you know that everything that you have is from God.

 

[1]. Deuteronomy 8:18.

[2]. Ibid. verses 10-17.

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