Hebrew | Francais


> > Archive

Shabbat Parashat Eikev 5777

Parashat Hashavua: A Life With Fear of Heaven

Harav Shaul Yisraeli based on Siach Shaul, p. 493-4 (an address from 1948)

“Now Israel, what does Hashem, your G-d, ask of you: just to fear Hashem …” (Devarim 10:12). Chazal famously asked about the strange language of “just” considering that proper fear of Heaven is not so simple to attain (Berachot 33b). The gemara answers that for Moshe it was a simple thing, to which many ask that it does not seem relevant, as the commandment was said to all of Israel.

The gemara also teaches us that “all is in the hands of Hashem except for yirat shamayim” (fear of Heaven). According to this, how can we pray (in Birkat Hachodesh): “Give us life that has within it fear of Heaven and fear of sin”? If it is up to us and not Him, how can we ask Hashem for the “gift” of yirat shamayim?

Within Moshe’s summary of the fundamentals of Judaism, fear and love of Hashem, he reviews the events that transpired for the nation. In this context, he commanded the people to remember and forbids them to forget. Furthermore, before conquering the Land, they are commanded not to question their ability to do so (Devarim 7:17) and, after successful conquest, not to congratulate themselves for the success (ibid. 8:17). The antidote to both is to remember what Hashem has done in Jewish history. Forgetting is dangerous; one who remembers believes. He is not afraid of the future and does not believe that he is responsible for his own successes.

It is important to remember past history at a time that Hashem “hides His face.” One should remember the hard times and realize that Hashem does not remove His providence, and when there is a need for a miracle, He provides it.  

Based on the above, it was not difficult in the miraculous times of Moshe to have fear of Hashem. Just a little bit of remembering should have been enough to give one trust in Hashem and fear of Him. At times when the people do not experience such miracles as existed in Moshe’s time, it is no simple matter to pronounce, “All of this came to us and we did not forget You, and we did not betray Your covenant” (Tehillim 44:18).

Asking for “life that has in it yirat shamayim” is a request for a life in which Divine Providence is clear, so that it will be easier to have yirat shamayim. It is a request that we will not be tested with situations in which the wicked have the upper hand and it is so difficult to find an explanation that fits with a proper outlook. That is an example of life that does not [lend itself to] yirat shamayim.

This year (5708=1947/8) we experienced what Chazal call “meireishit hashana” – a year that is poor in its beginning and rich in its end (Rosh Hashana 16b). In the beginning of the year, we were like poor people asking, “How can we succeed?” Due to a wonderful miracle, we can declare that Hashem gave us “life that has in it yirat shamayim.” We just have to remember the miracles and thus “you shall remember that Hashem is the One who gave you strength to make attainments” (Devarim 8:18). Then it will be easier to have yirat shamayim. 
Top of page
Print this page
Send to friend


We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

Lillian bat Fortune

Eliezer Yosef ben Chana Liba

Yehoshafat Yecheskel ben Milka

Ro'i Moshe Elchanan ben Gina Devra

Together with all cholei Yisrael


Hemdat Yamim

is dedicated

to the memory of:

those who fell

in wars

for our homeland

Eretz Hemdah's beloved friends

and Members of

Eretz Hemdah's Amutah

Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l

whose yahrtzeit

is the 10th of Iyar

Rav Reuven Aberman


who passed away

on 9 Tishrei, 5776

Mr. Shmuel Shemesh 
who passed away on

Sivan 17, 5774

R' Eliyahu Carmel,

Rav Carmel's father,

who passed away on

8th of Iyar 5776

Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat R’ Moshe Zev a”h.

who passed away on

10  Tamuz  5774

Rav Asher Wasserteil z"l

who passed away on

Kislev 9, 5769

R' Meir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld


R ' Yaakov ben Abraham & Aisha


Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l


Yitzchak Eizik

ben Yehuda Leib Usdan a"h,

whose Yahrtzeit

is the 29th of Av


Gital Gila

bat Eliyahu Michael a”h

on the occasion

of her yahrzeit, Av 21st

Rav Benzion Grossman


who passed away

23rd of Tamuz 5777

Hemdat Yamim

is endowed by

Les & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l

site by entry.
Eretz Hemdah - Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies, Jerusalem All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy. | Terms of Use.