Monday, July 22, 2013

Says I Got No Satisfaction, That's Why I Sing The Blues ( Bob Weir - "One More Saturday Night")

When I visited my kids at camp last week, I couldn’t help but note the irony, especially from my 13 year old daughter. At home, she would routinely complain that her bedroom isn’t big enough, her closet wasn’t big enough, the bathroom is too small to share with her younger sister and brother and she doesn’t have enough clothes. Sounds like a typical 13 year old girl, or at least a typical 13 year old girl that doesn’t really want for anything. At camp, she shares a room with 12 other girls, she sleeps on the bottom of a bunk bed, has four shelves, about 9 inches of closet space, shares a bathroom with 12 girls and two counselors, and couldn’t be happier. She has less room, less privacy, less clothes and in general seems quite satisfied. Now that is ironic!         
This week’s Parsha is Eikev. Here in his second discourse, Moshe explains to the new generation how the second set of tablets came into being. He explains how God forgave their parents of their idolatrous behavior in regards to the Eigel Zahav (Golden Calf), and all B’nai Yisroel must do essentially refrain from Idolatry, serve God, worship God, and the nation will be rewarded with water, grass and quality lives. Moshe also reminds B’nai Yisroel that they have nothing to fear when they enter into Canaan and conquer the land even though they maybe outnumbered, because God has already demonstrated that he will protect his people. He did so during the Yetziat Mitzrayim (Exodus), and as long as B’nai Yisroel keeps its side of the B’rit, God will continue to protect his people.

            However it is towards the end of the Parsha, that we encounter a possible answer from a passage of Torah that is familiar to many. V’Haya Im Tishma’u El Mitzvotai Asher Anochi M’tzaveh Etchem Hayom L’AhavahIt will be that if you hearken to My commandments that I command you today to love Hashem your God and to serve him with all you heart and with all your soul…(Deut. 11:13). This is the second paragraph of the Shema, a part of the daily prayers we say every Shacharit (morning service) and Ma’Ariv (evening service). In this second paragraph of the Shema, we are told that there is a reward for our obeying God’s commandments and there will be retribution for disobeying God’s commandments. Among the rewards is a phrase that, at first glance, does not seem like such a reward. V’Haya Im Tishma’u El Mitzvotai Asher Anochi M’tzaveh Etchem Hayom L’Ahavah Et Adonai Eloheichem Ul’Avdo B’Chol Levavchem Uv’chol  Nafshachem. V’Natati M’tar Artzechem B’Ito Yoreh Umalkosh V’Asaftah D’Ganecha V'Tiroshcha v’YitzharechaIt will be that if you hearken to My commandments that I command you today to love Hashem your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I shall provide rain for your Land in its proper time, the early and the late rains, that you may gather in your grain, your wine and your oil.  V’Natati Esev B’Sadcha Livhemtecha V’Achalta V’Savata – I shall provide grass in your field for your cattle and you will eat and be satisfied (Deut 11:15). Among the rewards is grass for our cattle and we will eat and be satisfied. The simple meaning of the verse suggests that we will eat the grass and or the cattle, but whatever we eat, we will be satisfied –v’Savatah. Satisfied implies that we will not be wanting for anything. Satisfied means fulfilled, content. How can the grass that God will make plentiful satisfy us. Rashi explains the verse as follows: When you are very prosperous, you must be very careful not to rebel against God, because man rejects God only when he is sated.” 
           When I asked her to compare the living conditions at home with the living conditions at camp, she looked at me as if I was a fool. She explained that she was with her friends, that she was doing so many amazing things and as a result didn’t need so many creature comforts.  I didn’t tell her, but it was quite evident to me, that spiritually she was flourishing and as a result she didn’t spend time “wanting”. She was satisfied with what she had.
            Rav Yitz

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