The Eternal Parsha, Haazinu.

 

This Shabbos we read one of the most famous verses in the Torah (Devarim 32,15).

“Jeshurun became fan and kicked. You became fat, you became thick, you became corpulent – and it deserted G-d, its Maker…”

Rabbi Hirsch explains that the verse refers to the abundance of blessing that Hashem has given us at times in history and our inability to use it to become better Jews.

To update his analogy:

Olympic champion Michael Phelps eats 12,000 calories a day. He can do that because he burns an amazing amount of energy by swimming at high speeds for hours a day.

What if he continues this diet after he retires and gives up swimming? A year later he’ll be obese. There is no way a regular person can consume 12,000 calories a day without a plan to burn them!

It is the same with material blessings. Hashem gives it to us to burn more Mitzvos! Give Tzedaka, take time to learn, help invest in someone’s fledging business, send our children to Jewish Day School… What if we continue the intake but don’t burn the Mitzvah “calories”? Instead we buy a few new houses, cars, vacations, and the like?

Just like a retried Michael Phelps, the materialism causes us to gain spiritual obesity and sluggishness. Until we are too fat to do anything!

This IS the story of Jewish history. We need to work together to make sure that our freedom and success are means, not ends in our lives!

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