Posted on March 23, 2011
by Hadar Schwartz
Parashat Ekev is filled with laws from God and the consequences for not observing those laws. In the middle of these laws, God speaks of Eretz Israel. God tells B’nai Yisrael that they must thank God for all of the food that God has given them (Birkat Hamazon). After all, God is the one who took B’ani Yisrael into Eretz Israel, “a land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey.” (Devarim 8:8)
As I read this famous biblical verse, my mind wandered to Eretz Israel and to the pilgrimage trips that have left for Israel, to walk in this, our biblical and contemporary homeland. There are a good number of USYERS, of Jewish Americans in general, who have made the journey to our troubled Israel. In such times, it almost seems hard to connect God with Israel even as it seems so fundamental. If God has given us this land, God should stand by us in keeping the land.
“Remember the long way that the Lord your God has made you travel in the wilderness these past forty years, that God might test your hardships to lean what was in your hearts.” (8:2) Perhaps, though it seems like a sad excuse now, God decided not to take us the short route in acquiring Israel. Just as God made the journey of B’nai Israel forty years, so too God may be lengthening our journey so as to see what we feel in our hearts. I hope and I believe that God would be proud with what God were to see. People are still traveling to Israel, buying products from Israel, supporting Israel. Though everyone may not be in Israel, Israel is in everyone.