In this week’s Portion, Ekev (“As the Result”), Moses continues his first message to the second generation of Israel; he promised if they would keep His mitzvot (commandments) in the Torah they will prosper in the Land of Canaan in keeping with God’s promise to their forefathers.
Moses also reminds them of the failings of the first generation: their worship of the Golden Calf, the rebellion of Korach, the sin of the spies and their seemingly constant murmuring. “You have been rebellious against God since the day I knew you.” Then he also speaks of God’s forgiveness of their sins and the Second Tablets of Torah, etched by the finger of God following their repentance.
Their forty years in the wilderness, when God sustained them with daily manna from heaven, was to teach them “that man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” Moses described the land they are about to enter as “flowing with milk and honey” (wheat, barley, grapevines, figs, pomegranates, olive oil and dates).
He commands them to utterly destroy the idols of the land’s inhabitants, and to guard themselves so they will not become prideful, believing that “my power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.”
The Portion concludes with the second chapter of the Shema; the first chapter (in last week’s Portion) established the “oneness” of God; this second chapter establishes God’s justice: rewards for obedience and punishment for disobedience.