for Parshat Eikev
Read a fuller version of this idea in the most recent New York Jewish Week.
You have watched God destroy Pharoah. You have seen what God can do. So do not fear the nations of the Land.
I was terrified at God’s anger at at your sin, at the Golden Calf.
In Egypt, Israel is a nation in its youth.
And so it is in youth that Israel learns to understand that there is no need to fear men.
Because God is more powerful than men.
In the Desert, Israel is older.
Pharoah is in the past. The people are on their way to the Land. They are on their way to standing on their own.
It is then that Israel sins.
It is then that Moses is terrified by God’s anger at Israel’s sin.
This is a story of growing up.
When you grow up, you learn that people are not frightening.
Even powerful, dangerous people are not frightening.
Because everything is in God’s hands.
When you grow up a bit more, you learn this:
that the cause of legitimate fear
is the wrong that we do, ourselves.
Based on a thought of Rav Soloveitchik