Eikev – Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25 – The Torah portion (parashat ha shavuah) for Shabbat, Saturday, Aug. 16

One of the great human virtues is humility – an appropriate sense of our place in the world. This week’s Torah portion reminds us that much of the success we enjoy in life is not just by the work of our own hands, “When you have eaten your fill, and have built fine houses to live in, and your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold have increased, and everything you own has prospered, beware lest your heart grow haughty and you forget the Lord your God … and you say to yourselves, ‘My own power and the might of my own hand have won this wealth for me.’ Remember that it is the Lord your God who gives you the power to get wealth…” (Deuteronomy 8:12-18) This week’s Torah portion teaches us that much of our success in life comes from a bountiful Earth that supports us, from parents, friends, colleagues, a system of laws and a government that enforces those laws and ensures social order. This realization promotes the understanding that we are only a small part of a larger picture and cultivates empathy for those who are less fortunate.