Ha’azinu tells a story of a nation created and nurtured by God and brought to a land of plenty:
He set him atop the highlands, to feast on the yield of the earth;
He fed him honey from the crag, and oil from the flinty rock,
Curd of kine and milk of flocks with the best of lambs,
And rams of Bashan, and he-goats with the very finest wheat. (32:13-14)
But once they become wealthy and comfortable they forget God who gave them their good fortune:
Jeshurun [- the people of Israel] grew fat and kicked!
You grew fat and gross and coarse
He forsook the God who made him
And spurned the Rock of his support. (32:15)
Does wealth stimulate religious rejection?
Rabbi Hirsch comments:
[These verses are] the quintessence of the whole of Jewish history. In suffering, the Jewish people have mostly proved themselves splendid. But it has seldom been able to stand good fortune.
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Alex teaches Bible at Pardes and is the Director of the Community Education Program and the Summer Program. Alex was born and raised in London. He holds degrees from London School of Economics, the Institute of Education London and Bar-Ilan University. Alex studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion under Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and Rav Yehudah Amital, and gained Rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Rabbinate. Click here to read more.