We are all familiar with the words “Ve’ahavta Et Hashem Elokecha” – “you should love God, your God”. They appear at the beginning the most important Jewish prayer, the Shema, said every day, and they come from last week’s parsha, Va’etchanan. Curiously, the exact same words also appear in this week’s parsha, Eikev, this time at the beginning of a totally different paragraph.
What is the difference between the two Ve’ahavtas, and why do we need two pesukim to say exactly the same thing? Why does the Ve’ahavta in this week’s parsha only apply to the generation of Moshe, while the other one seems to apply to all generations?
The commentaries puzzle over these anomalies and demonstrate how loving God and loving mitzvot are not just essential components of Judaism, but are also the secret of Jewish continuity. Learning how to love, and how to convey love, for God and mitzvot, is not a luxury – it is an essential tool for the survival of God’s Chosen People.