Parshas Eikev
Deuteronomy 7:12 - 11:25

Discilpine ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of Mrs. Rachel Student, may she rest in peace.

"For like that, all the discipline man uses on his son, Hashem your G-d [draws] from to discipline you. Deuteronomy 8:5

Why does Moshe share this principle of discipline with us? What is the point of telling us that this is Hashem's method of discipline? These words seem to be stuck in between two separate non related thoughts.

However a close examination teaches differently. The first thought expresses how Hashem cared for us during our forty years in the wilderness. The Torah expresses that Hashem extended the life of our garments and that even our feet did not swell during these forty years. The intention here seems to be that a father cares for all his children's needs. Hashem cared for all our physical needs in the BaMidbar. The second thought expresses Hashem's direction: 'Guard the Torah! Walk in Hashem's pathway! Respect Hashem.!'

Hashem cares for us in a loving fashion as we do our own children. Hashem charges us to 'Guard the Torah... Walk in Hashem's pathway... Respect Hashem' just as we charge our children. So why do we need to be informed that Hashem cares for us, charges us and disciplines us like we do our children? Well, our children are very dear to us like we are dear to Hashem. G-d wants us to understand that. We are honored through our children. When our children Guard the Torah... Walk in Hashem's pathway ... and Respect Hashem, it is a positive reflection on us.

This being the situation Moshe's comment is a POWERFUL REMINDER that our children are a reflection more of what we do than what we say. Just because we charge our children to Guard the Torah... Walk in Hashem's pathway ... and Respect Hashem, it means little if we fail to follow our own charge. Dear readers, it is our actions that make the impression on our children.

I remember a few charges given to me by my parents as a child growing up. Most went in one ear and out the other. However the impressions that stuck with me were my parents' actions.

I learned to be a very hard man from my father. It is difficult changing that lasting impression. I cannot use the impression of my father's hard nature as a guideline because it is too extreme. My father is a very hard worker even as he approaches 90 years of age, G-d willing! I am also a very hard worker. My father is an extremely dedicated man. I am likewise.

My mother, may she rest in peace, was a student of the Bible as I am. She was understanding, fair and modest, as I am. She was kind, generous and very sharing, as I am. Momma was a hard worker. Momma was extremely dedicated.

Holy readers, we are the image of our parents' impression. We will remember some of what they say but we are impressed with what our parents do! This is the message that Moshe was sharing with us. Our children will be like us so we MUST be the people that we want our children to be. If we want our children to honor us then we must be the type of parents who honor. We cannot expect fruit from a thorn bush!!

This is why Moshe says, ".. Be careful NOT to forget Hashem your G-d, [be careful not to forget our responsibilities of] guarding His commandments, His laws and His statutes that I am commanding you today." Deuteronomy 8:11

Chassidim, if we choose to discipline our children we must first discipline ourselves!

Good Shabbos!

Dr. Akiva G. Belk


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