Parshat Eikev – August 26, 2016
What does the Sovereign One, your God, desire?
Only this: experience the awe of the Divine and walk in all Her ways…
What does it mean to walk in all God’s ways?
During the Days of Awe that rapidly approach, we will repeatedly enumerate the Divine attributes, saying, these are the ways of the Holy One:
Gracious and compassionate, patient, abounding in kindness and faithfulness,
assuring life for a thousand generations,
forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin,
and granting pardon…
And our sages teach that just as God is gracious and compassionate, so we must be gracious and compassionate. God is faithful in all Her ways and loving in all His deeds.
As the Holy One is faithful, we too must be faithful. As the Holy One is loving, we too must be loving.
Perhaps we can go a step farther in recognizing that not only do we follow God’s holy example, but that we also have agency in stimulating the divine ratzon, God’s desire to emulate us. The Chassidic rebeim teach that God follows our example, our abounding loving kindness breaking the supernal heart open in an outpouring of compassion that flows into the world on the stream of light emanating from Eden.
As we circumcise our individual hearts, as our parasha calls upon us to do, opening to others in forgiveness and acceptance, with patience and generosity – we increase the presence of these qualities in our world. As we walk in God’s ways, we will experience a world more and more enriched by godliness.
It is through one another that we truly experience an open-handed God, attending to each of us in just the way we need to be nourished and supported.
We do God’s work in the world. We complete Creation. We are the arms, the eyes, the smiles, that communicate God’s love. When our parasha says: “You open Your hands and satisfy each according to their need,” I hear: you open your hands by entreating us to open our hearts, so that we see our fellows and reach out to tend to one another in love.