In Parshas Eikev, Moses continues to encourage the Children of Israel to trust in G-d and in the prosperity and health which will follow if they keep the Torah. If they are careful to observe even those ‘minor’ mitzvos that are usually ‘trampled’ underfoot, he promises that they will be the most blessed of the nations of the Earth. Moses reminds them of their numerous transgressions in the desert, including the mystifying sin of the Golden Calf. Moses describes the bountiful Land of Israel filled with wheat, barley, grapes, figs, and pomegranates, a land of oil-yielding olives and date honey.
He teaches the people the second paragraph of the Shema which stresses the fundamental doctrine of reward for keeping the mitzvos and the consequences of non-compliance. All that G-d requires of us, Moses says, is to love G-d, revere Him, and to observe His Torah. Easier said than done!
Parshas Eikev concludes with the promise that G-d will provide the Jewish people with protection if they observe the laws of the Torah. Many are familiar with the famous phrase (found in this week’s portion), “Man does not live by bread alone.” The less-familiar second half of the verse says, “. . . but by all that comes from the mouth of G-d.” This important idea teaches that physical nourishment and external pleasures aren’t sufficient for a satisfied life. Every human being has spiritual needs that must also be met.