The forty-sixth reading from the Torah and the third reading from the book of Deuteronomy is named Ekev(עקב), a word from the first verse of the portion. Deuteronomy 7:12 says, “Then it shall come about, because (ekev, עקב) you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers.” Usually the word ekev means “heel.” In fact, this word shares the same three-letter root as the name Jacob (Yaakov, יעקב), whose name actually means “heel.” He was born holding on to Esau’s heel. However, in Deuteronomy 7:12, the word ekev means “on the heels of” or “because of.” This portion of Deuteronomy speaks of the rewards that will come to Israel on the heels of keeping God’s covenant and commandments.

This past week it feel like we have turned the corner. The next seven weeks leading up to the high holidays in September are preparation and consolation for the suffering the nation of Israel has endured through its journey in the wilderness the past 40 years. Remember, the story is one of liberation from slavery/bondage. Look for the metaphor in your life. What is keeping you stuck?

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