This week’s Torah Reading is Parashat Eikev. This reading covers Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25. Here is a brief commentary from Baruch:
In this week’s Torah portion one learns a very important lesson about merit. Merit can be simply defined as the outcome of something which is earned. Spiritually speaking, merit can be transferred to another. This is certainly true with the Gospel message; Messiah Yeshua earned the forgiveness of sins on behalf of the world. In Deuteronomy chapter 10 there is a verse which speaks about merit.
“Only in your fathers did HaShem desire to love them, and He chose their seed after them; in you from all peoples as this day.” Deuteronomy 10:15
This verse reveals that G-d, because of the Patriarchs, chose Israel from all other peoples to be used in this world as His special vessel. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob responded in faith to be used by HaShem to bring blessing upon humanity. They were faithful to this call and in turn this same call was placed upon the Jewish people. This call was not about exalting Jewishness, but godliness; manifesting His glory so all peoples could respond in the same type of faith.
In this passage, immediately after affirming Israel’s call, the first thing that is mentioned is circumcision. Circumcision should be understood as the death of the flesh. In other words, if Israel (or for that matter all people) is going to accomplish the purposes of G-d, then the first lesson that Israel must learn is that one cannot serve HaShem in the flesh. It is most significant that when circumcision is mentioned in verse 16 it refers to the circumcision of the heart. This fact reveals that serving G-d is a spiritual matter.
Most people, including historical Israel, forget a very important aspect of why HaShem calls one to serve Him. Recently, I taught this passage and when asking this question one responded with the answer, “to bless others”. While it is true that the purpose of being called into service is to bless others, this is not the important aspect which one needs to remember concerning this call. It is very significant that in verse 15 it states, “HaShem desires to love them“. G-d calls us to serve Him, not because He needs our help or because this is the only way for other to be blessed. Rather, He calls us to serve Him because He desires to love us!
It is in service to our L-rd (Yeshua) that one can experience the great love of G-d, which brings about a great change in the believer’s life and matures this one into being truly an instrument of G-d which manifests His glory and blesses others.