In parshas Eikev one of the main focuses of Moses’ reproof is the sin of the Golden Calf. This represents the exact opposite of the relationship with wealth and prosperity that G-d wants in the rectified Land of Israel. The sin of the Golden Calf represents the pursuit of material prosperity and pleasure for their own sake. Putting their own strength, power and pleasure at the center of the world drives men into forgetfulness: man forgets G-d.

G-d wants man to be blessed with material wealth not for its own sake, but because when his needs are provided he can better devote himself to the pursuit of the knowledge of G-d and His Torah. In the rectified Land of Israel, prosperity leads to . “And you shall eat and be satisfied and bless HaShem your G-d” (Deut. 8:10).

This verse contains the commandment to bless G-d after eating, from which the sages also derived the obligation to bless Him before eating or partaking of other material pleasures. The blessing before and after eating elevates it from the level of a mere physical function to an act of service that brings us closer to G-d by enhancing our awareness of His hand in providing our livelihood.

The essence of what G-d asks of us, as expressed in our parshah, is to seek awareness and knowledge of G-d in all the different aspects of our lives. “And now, Israel, what (MAH) does HaShem your G-d ask of you except to revere HaShem your G-d, to go in all His ways, to love Him and to serve HaShem your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut. 10:12).

The Rabbis taught that what G-d asks of us — MAH — is actually ME’AH, “one hundred”, alluding to the one hundred blessings that make up the daily order of our prayers (the morning blessings, the blessings before and after food and the thrice-repeated 18 blessings of the Amidah standing prayer). By regularly blessing G-d throughout the day and praying to Him for all the different specifics in our lives, we heighten our consciousness of His active involvement in every area of our lives. This is how we overcome “forgetfulness”.

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