5772 Eikev

It is no coincidence that as we prepare to usher in the month of Elul we read the parshios that speak of both loving and fearing Hashem. The most famous of these readings is that of Shema, which states that we should love Hashem with all our heart, soul and might. The Gemara learns from this pasuk that one must give his life rather than submit to idol worship. The idea is that if one truly loves G-d he won’t betray Him by serving another. In Parashas Eikev, this choice is spelled out more explicitly. The Torah makes it clear that there are only two possible paths: either we love Hashem or we serve idols. This seems rather harsh, but this is the stark reality. The Torah is NOT discussing different levels of observance, but rather making an important point. One’s heart cannot be divided. Either we are committed to growing and moving forward, or we are complacent and stagnant. We must be constantly on the move, both in mitzvah observance and in kindness towards fellow human beings. While it is true that in many areas of life not everything is black and white, there is very little room for negotiation when deciding where to put your heart. May Hashem grant us the wisdom and sensitivity to walk wholeheartedly with him and may our service during Elul and the High Holidays be pleasing to Him and accepted by Him as well. Amen.