Parshas Eikev

To Walk in His Ways - לָלֶ֥כֶת בִּדְרָכָ֖יו

 

וְשָׁ֣מַרְתָּ֔ אֶת־מִצְוֺ֖ת יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ לָלֶ֥כֶת בִּדְרָכָ֖יו וּלְיִרְאָ֥ה אֹתֽוֹ׃

8:6 Therefore keep the commandments of the LORD your God: walk in His ways and revere Him.

וְעַתָּה֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל מָ֚ה יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ שֹׁאֵ֖ל מֵעִמָּ֑ךְ כִּ֣י אִם־לְ֠יִרְאָה אֶת־יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהֶ֜יךָ לָלֶ֤כֶת בְּכָל־דְּרָכָיו֙ וּלְאַהֲבָ֣ה אֹת֔וֹ וְלַֽעֲבֹד֙ אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֖ וּבְכָל־נַפְשֶֽׁךָ׃

10:12 And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God demand of you? Only this: to revere the LORD your God, to walk only in His paths, to love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and soul,

 

כִּי֩ אִם־שָׁמֹ֨ר תִּשְׁמְר֜וּן אֶת־כָּל־הַמִּצְוָ֣ה הַזֹּ֗את אֲשֶׁ֧ר אָנֹכִ֛י מְצַוֶּ֥ה אֶתְכֶ֖ם לַעֲשֹׂתָ֑הּ לְאַהֲבָ֞ה אֶת־יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֛ם לָלֶ֥כֶת בְּכָל־דְּרָכָ֖יו וּלְדָבְקָה־בֽוֹ׃

11:22 If, then, you faithfully keep all this Instruction that I command you, loving the LORD your God, walking in all His ways, and cleaving to Him,

 

These pesukim are all woven with the לָלֶ֥כֶת בְּדְּרָכָ֖יו (to walk in His ways), and as if by a needle, this thread is passed through each weft (pasuk) in a different warp (location). In our first verse, going in His ways comes after the keeping of Hashem's commandments, but before yirah. In our second verse, going in His ways comes after yirah but before ahavah. Lastly, in our third verse, going in is ways comes after ahavah and before deveikus. And these variations of weaves indicate to us different levels in our avodas Hashem. First yirah, then ahavah, and then deveikus (Ramban: diff between ahavah and deveikus is that deveikus is when the love is always present in one's heart).

Our Torah is teaching us exactly how to develop this ever close relationship to Hashem: לָלֶ֥כֶת בְּדְּרָכָ֖יו (to walk in His ways). Emulating Him, via (the 13 attributes) kindness and righteousness, truth and peace, brings us in a deeper, closer, more intimate relationship.

 

I would like to note another interesting variation that flows through these verses. The first time a darga (level) of the relationship is introduced, the relationship is connected to אֹתֽוֹ - Him, but in the following verse is connected to אֶת־יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהֶ֜יךָ - Hashem, your Gd. I think perhaps the Torah is inferring to us that when we are starting in each stage, the relationship is to HIM, but when we are entrenched in it (and before we can move to the next level), we have moved from a connection to a concept/separate HIM to the recognition it is with Hashem, our Gd. 

 

Here too we see a foundational yesod in our relationship with Hashem (and others): with what frames/lens do we view Him (them). Is the relationship with Him (him/her) - a separate and distinct from you party / unit / individual? Or is a relationship with our King / Father / spouse / partner / friend / brother / sister? When we begin to view each other as "we" and "us" (kol Yisrael areivin zeh l'zeh) - our relationships will become ever deeper.