Eikev – What Does G-d Want?

As part of his review of the events of the previous forty years for the Jewish people, Moshe described his time on Mt Sinai. He asked the rhetorical question above and gave the answer. “Just to fear your G-d, and to go in all His ways and to love Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, to observe His commandments and decrees, which I command you today for your benefit”.

 

R’ Eli Munk quoted Maharsha who explained that there are two types of fear of G-d. The first is fear of punishment, and the second is an intellectual fear based on “awe of Divine grandeur”. The Talmud has R’ Meir declare that 100 blessings a day relating to “what” which can also be read as “maya”, a hundred. R’ Munk wrote that the daily recitation of 100 blessings is an effective way to G-d, as they lead us to the conviction that everything depends on G-d.

 

R’ SR Hirsch commented that it is only through accepting the fear of G-d that a person can acknowledge his Master, and freely submit to His will.  R’ Munk wrote that Judaism affirms that G-d has a respect for the human being and his free will. G-d wants man to benefit from freely accepting moral principles, and His commandments.

 

R’ Munk wrote that love and fear are mentioned together, because love is the direct consequence of fear, which keeps us from evil, and enable us to commit to do good. He wrote that there are two types of love, great love and eternal love. Great love is sparked by pleasure and joy in the service of G-d, whereas eternal love is a spiritual and intellectual love. This was characterised by Rambam as “when a person contemplates the immense and marvellous works of G-d’s creation and sees His infinite wisdom, so far surpassing man’s he will at once love Him, praise Him and glorify Him”.

 

The verse ends “for your benefit” and R’ Munk wrote that G-d doesn’t need our service, and that He loved our forefathers, and this gives us the opportunity to serve Him and benefit as a consequence.

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