With all thy might

August 27, 2021

A strange thing happened while reading this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tavo; I noticed the absence of a key element in Gd’s command to, “observe and fulfill [the commandments] with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” (Deuteronomy 26:16). What happened to, “with all thy might”?

A few chapters ago, in Deuteronomy 6:5, in the opening of the Shema prayer, we read Gd’s command to, “love the Lrd thy Gd with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Why the reduction in requirements this week?

We often associate the textual “heart”, “soul”, and “might”, to human feelings, thoughts, and actions, which in this example only creates more confusion with the absence of requiring actions to “observe and fulfill” the commandments.

It makes sense that the Torah would direct us to show our love for Gd with all three of these traits, but it certainly wouldn’t lessen our love for Gd if we were instructed to fulfill the commandments with the same three forces in commitment and enthusiasm… would it?

If we look at the verb generating these human expectations, we discover something interesting. The requirement to use our heart, soul, and might, is based on expressing our love for Gd, whereas only the heart and soul are expected in observing a commandment. The lesson to be learned is that there is no need to require “action” when performing a mitzvah. This would be redundant and unnecessary, because how else could you accomplish it without the action.

However, when it comes to loving Gd, and as the Hasidic Proverb says, “To truly Love Gd you must first love man”, there is no assumption of action, and therefore the Torah teaches us that it is not enough to love with our heart and soul, rather, we must also love “with all our might”.

Building relationships is about the actions we perform. We may develop the desire to reach out, which may be followed by a consideration of all the possibilities in how to accomplish the connection, yet, without undertaking the action, without being active in our pursuits to love our neighbors, our family and friends, and even Gd, there is no way to create the connection.

Steven Covey said it with great eloquence, “To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground.” May we all find our path to one another, treading carefully along this holy journey, because only by building these relationships can we be stronger together so that the Jewish Federation can be…


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Shabbat shalom,