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Parashat Eikev (English)

Yehoshua Lhungdim Do not say in your heart,when Hashem pushes them away from before you,saying Because of my righteousness....Not because of your righteousness and the uprightness of your heart are you coming to possess their land,but because of the wickedness of these nations.....[Devarim 9:4-5]

If we look into our Parasha we will see that Hashem is the one who fights our war.But it depends on us! Many people think that Our Physical strength is the determining factor in war.And moreso we are so much delusional to think that If not our military prowess, we will already be under the control of another country or power.Moshe Rabbeinu warns us that Jewish Military prowess alone does not give us Victory.

Rashi Hakadosh told us commenting on the above verse that you should not think that you will triumph because of a combination of your righteousness and cananite wickedness.Your righteousness is not sufficient to be a factor, at all.Instead, you will conquer because of cananite wickedness and beacause of God’s oath to the Patriarchs.

Ramban commenting on verse 4 says that Moshe Rabbeinu told Am Israel not to think that Am Israel Righteousness will win the war for themselves.Instead,it is the wickedness of the Canaanites that is causing them(canaanites) to be driven out.In verse 5,Moshe reiterates that the jews should not think their Righteousness is sufficient.Rather Israel have the privilege of succeeding or displacing them.i.e.the canaanites and not any other nations is because the oath to the Patriarchs was still in effect.

Ohr haKhayim too says that the verse Do not say in your heart is a command not to say even when one meant to say that It is not only because of his righteousness but also because of the canaanite wickedness.One might think This command applies only to one who says in his heart that it is because of his righteousness rather This command applies even to one who says both.i.e,One’s righteousness and Canaanite wickedness.How do we know?As it is stated Do not say Because of my righteousness even if you finish by saying Because of the wickedness of the canaanites.And what is the meaning of Not because of your righteousness?Not because of your righteousness you are deserving of possessing the Land,Evenso They were a trustworthy and righteous generation but their righteousness was not sufficient for them to possess the Land,If not for the Oath that Hashem made to our Forefathers.And Even the Oath will not be helpful If they were wicked as it is with the generations of the Wilderness.What is the meaning of the verse in yeshayahu(Isaiah) 41:4,”Who calls the generations from the beginning?”.The Ra’avad writes that Hashem sees the generations that is eligible and waits for until that generations,like the generations of Yehoshua.We see that There is still a need for an eligible generations.Nevertheless There was no sufficient measure of merit in themselves in order for them to possess the Land without the Oath that Hashem made to our Forefathers.And in relation to this It says Not because of your righteousness Even If you were righteous it is not sufficient for you to possess the Land.Your righteousness was helpful in preventing the good from leaving you.

The Ben Ish khai writes that One should keep in mind that All that one succeed in doing is not because of one’s own strength, Rather It’s because of that strength that Hashem entrusted to you.likewise David Hamelekh says All is from You, and from Your Hand we have given it to you. [Divrei hayamim 1 29:14]So too in our Parasha Moshe Rabbeinu told us,”You must remember the Lord your God, for It is He that gives you strength.

The book Oznayim laTorah asks the questions why after our verse It continues to speak about the sins of Am Israel.And it seems that The mention of their sins comes to prove that It is not because of their Righteousness that they merit to possess the Land, rather because of the wickedness of the gentiles and because of the Promises to our Forefathers.If that is so, a question is asked why the Torah only brings here evidence to proof that her words are correct? We can already see in our previous chapter too that In order for us not to have distorted thinking,The Torah does not bother to bring evidence for her proof?It is written there in Devarim 8:17,”And you will say to yourself,”My strength and the might of my hand that has accumulated this wealth for me.”And there, after The Torah revealed to us what should be the correct method of thinking.i.e.And you should remember the Lord your God, for it is He that gives you the strength...It does not see the need to bring more proof for it.

The explanation is that Its easy for a man to receive and to convince oneself that his success does not come from his strength,rather from God,Blessed Be He.If One were to observe and look carefully,he will see that he almost never succeed in doing everything perfectly,without any mistakes and losses.And then,he will understand that,In the case that he succeeds its not because of his strength or wisdom.In other side,Its difficult for one to accept that he is not righteous.As it is stated,”Man’s every way is straight in his own eyes.”[Mishlei 21:2]-Everyone thinks that his ways is straight and Right.Therefore, precisely here, When the Torah proclaims that It is not because of the righteousness of Am Israel that Hashem brings them to the Land,It saw the need to remind them of all their sins,in order to convince them that indeed they were not righteous enough.

All in all,Righteousness is needed And One should still strive to be a complete Tzaddik even after one achieve righteousness.As there are many levels inside it.As our Sages say,In spirituality one must always look someone above himself and strive to reach that level as it is stated in Tana Devei Eliyahu chapter 25-One should always say,”When will my deeds reach the level of the deeds of my Forefathers Avraham,Yitzkhak and Yaakov,” and strive hard to attain it.Likewise The Mefarshim too diffrentiate the levels of the righteousness in Avraham and Noakh.And when One is so righteous One can save the whole world.May we merit to conquer our Yetzer hara and May we merit to always be Righteous.Shabbath Shalom!

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