עקב

This week’s parsha begins with a promise of all the good that will befall the Israelites if they listen to Hashem and obey His commands.  Interestingly, though, part of that promise does not seem so good – at least not for anyone but the Israelites.  After promising to withhold all sickness from the people and their livestock, the text says: “And you will eat all the nations that Hashem your God gives to you; do not allow your eyes to pity them, and do not worship their Gods because they are a snare to you” (7:16, translation mine).  There is a clear shift here from Hashem doing good things for the Israelites that do not affect others, and the good things being done for the Israelites by their very nature implying that negative things will befall others.  Further, the verse seems to equate pitying other nations – or, one might say, showing them mercy or compassion – with worshiping their Gods.  This sounds very strange to the modern ear, as it should be eminently possible to live peaceably with another without ascribing to their worldview.

Let us show pity

Living with those not like us

Praying to our Gods

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