This week’s Parsha starts out with a list of blessings that will rest upon the nation of Israel when it is settled in the land of Israel and living according to the laws of Israel. It’s not a short list. I started getting scared reading it, in the Torah a list of blessings is sometimes followed by a long list of curses. The beginning of this week’s Parsha seems a sharp contrast to last week’s Parsha that started off with G-d explicitly denying the prayers of Moshe. What explains the difference between these two Parshiot, one in which Moshe’s wishes are denied and the second in which Moshe tells us that all of our wishes will be fulfilled?
The most obvious answer is that last week’s Parsha was about prayer whereas this week’s Parsha is about action. Prayer is an essential part of Judaism, we are required to engage in prayer three times a day. What is the point of prayer? To cultivate a clear vision of the world we seek to make manifest. We need to know our goals in order to achieve them, but knowing and longing for them is not enough. As important as a vision of our future is, without action it is just a fantasy. This week’s Parsha comes to tell us that action is the source of all bracha – blessings – and the source of our actions need to be the deepest prayers of our heart.
Rabbi Yehoshua Ellis