Parashat Eikev: Tested
How many tests have you taken in your lifetime? How many times have you felt tested by life itself? Probably over million times, or maybe it just feels that way. Life is full of tests. We are all being tested in way or another, whether academically or otherwise in life. Perhaps being tested is G-d’s push for us to do more, be better.
In this week’s Torah portion, Eikev, we learn that G-d had been testing the Israelites for forty years, “And you shall remember the entire way on which the Lord, your God, led you these forty years in the desert, in order to afflict you to test you, to know what is in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. And He afflicted you and let you go hungry, and then fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your forefathers know, so that He would make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but rather by, whatever comes forth from the mouth of the Lord does man live (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).” That’s a really long test! Can you imagine being tested for forty years?! Why did G-d feel the need to test for Israelites for so long? Heart. G-d was looking for what was in the Israelites heart. He gave them a forty years worth of experiences in the desert filled with hardship, action, learning, and building to test them. G-d admits He let the Israelites suffer, in order to push the Israelites to find what is truly in their hearts. Perhaps to push them beyond the way of life, the slavery they knew before, to be something greater. They had to shed what they were in order to make room for what they would become. This is not the type of transformation that happens in day. When a transformation comes from deep within your heart, when change comes from deep within your heart it must be profound. So, it can’t be simple.
Tonight at your Shabbat dinner table as yourself, what is in your heart? Think about the tests you’ve taken, the tests you have experienced, continue to experience, and will experience. Think about how these tests changed you, whether it be a spelling test, or a life lesson. Think about who you are, what you have become, and who you can be. And remember you are not alone.