Cantor Eyal Bitton shares a few thoughts on prayer and the parasha of the week.

King David and Moral Responsibility

2023-08-05 Parashat Eikev

Last year, I gave a lecture on how the story of the Garden of Eden in Genesis gives us the lens through which we are to read the rest of the Torah and through which we are to see ourselves. Essentially, we are to see ourselves as sharing the divine trait of knowing wrong from right; we are charged with seeking to be moral beings.

Parashat Eikev provides a beautiful example of this charge, reminding us of the importance of following God’s commandments and living a life of moral responsibility. This parasha highlights the consequences of our choices and emphasizes the need to remember God’s blessings.

The Shabbat morning prayer “Vayevarech David” (1 Chronicles 29:10-13) provides a powerful iteration of these themes, emphasizing God’s greatness and the importance of acknowledging His blessings. This prayer is a reminder of God’s sovereignty and our obligation to serve Him with gratitude and humility. 

“Yours, God, is the greatness, the strength, and the glory… for everything in heaven and on earth is Yours. Sovereignty is Yours. Wealth and honor come from You.”

When we recite this prayer on Saturday morning, we remind ourselves that God is the ultimate source of all blessings and that we are called to serve Him with awe and reverence. We acknowledge the legacy of King David and the importance of following in his footsteps as we live a life of moral responsibility.

The prayer, also known as “David’s Final Prayer”, also emphasizes the theme of covenant and blessing, which is central to Parashat Eikev. We are reminded of the importance of following God’s commandments and living a life of moral responsibility in order to receive God’s blessings. We are part of a long spiritual, moral, and national tradition, and we have a responsibility to carry on this legacy.

“Vayevarech David” provides a powerful lens through which to view Parashat Eikev. It reminds us of God’s greatness, our moral responsibility, and the importance of following in the footsteps of our forefathers. It encourages us to trust in God’s guidance and protection, and to live a life of gratitude and humility. By reciting this prayer, we reaffirm our commitment to serving God and carrying on the legacy of our ancestors.