If You Do…and If You Don’t…

Jul 30, 2015

וְהָיָה אִם־שָׁמֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶל־מִצְוׂתַי אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם הַיּוֹם לְאַהֲבָה אֶת־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וּלְעָבְדוֹ בְּכָל־לְבַבְכֶם וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁכֶם׃

If, then, you obey the commandments that I enjoin upon you this day, loving Hashem your God and serving Him with all your heart and soul,

Deuteronomy 11:13

לֹא־יִתְיַצֵּב אִישׁ בִּפְנֵיכֶם פַּחְדְּכֶם וּמוֹרַאֲכֶם יִתֵּן יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם עַל־פְּנֵי כָל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר תִּדְרְכוּ־בָהּ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר לָכֶם׃

No man shall stand up to you: Hashem your God will put the dread and the fear of you over the whole land in which you set foot, as He promised you.

Deuteronomy 11:25

This final passage of our portion of the week deals with the concept of crime and punishment. Simply put, if the people hearken to God’s words, He will provide rain in its season and bounty in the fields. However, if the people allow their hearts to lead them astray, He will become angry with them and stop the rains and thus the growth of the fields. The people will quickly perish from the land under such circumstances.

 

So that they never forget, God orders that these words be taken to heart and worn between their eyes and on their arms. He tells them, too, to teach it to their children and to write it on their doorposts.

 

If the people do these things and follow in God’s ways, then no man will be able to stand in their way and God will grant them all the blessings He has promised.

 

Virtual Classroom Discussion

This passage bears a striking resemblance to the first passage of the Shema prayer mentioned in last week’s portion. In fact, it makes up the second paragraph of the prayer as recited daily and as included in both the phylacteries and the mezzuzah placed on Jewish doorways. What do you think this passage comes to add to the first one (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)?

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