Shabbat Parashat Eikev| 5766
Eikev | | 1/1/2005
We find in our parasha that Moshe prepared Bnei Yisrael not only to deal with difficulties upon entering Eretz Yisrael but also to deal with success. First he told them not to attribute their future, military victories to their strength (see Devarim 8:18 and Ramban on 9:4). Then he told them something that might sound to be against the cardinal principles of reward and punishment (but, of course, is not). Moshe told Bnei Yisrael to not even view their future success as a reward for their righteousness.
The gemara (Sanhedrin 31b) discusses a case where one litigant wants to adjudicate locally, and the other wants to go to the beit hava’ad (a particularly distinguished beit din). The gemara concludes that generally they stay locally, but a lender can force a borrower to go to the beit hava’ad. The poskim discuss many details in this regard. These include if the power of the lender is specific to a lender or applies to other examples of plaintiffs and the extent to which the alleged lender needs to substantiate his claim (see Choshen Mishpat 14 with commentaries). The gemara does not discuss the case where the only issue is the location.
The lesson from these mistakes is not to break the fusion between two connected ideals: the Torah and the Land. There is no Torah without Eretz Yisrael and no Eretz Yisrael without the Torah. The attempt to sever their link will not work. The nation learned the lesson and continued on history’s path with its Torah of life. In the first circumstance, the lesson was learned by those entering the Land. In the second, it was learned by those who began the great sojourn through the Diaspora. When the mistake’s lesson is learned, it is not as frightening, and the mourning can contain an encouraging element.
This edition of
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).