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Ekev

“When your heart will become haughty and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you … out of the land of slavery… you may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me’. But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” Deuteronomy 8: 14-18

    We are the most privileged generation ever to exist. At no other point in human history was there a time when humanity had so much. Our species, throughout its history prone to poverty and misery, is now blessed with plenty which its ancestors could not even imagine. The poorest of our society live in better circumstances than the richest in ancient cultures. 

    World poverty is at its lowest and is steadily decreasing. A programme launched by the World Bank and UN aims to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. Life expectancy is the highest we have known and, despite what we constantly hear in the news, war is less common than it used to be. New technological developments make our lives so comfortable and enable us to accomplish so much. 

    However, at times it may seem there was not a generation which has complained as much as ours. We take all this bounty for granted and only see the half-empty glass. 

    This psychological phenomenon is not new. This is the thrust of the warning issued by Moses to the Children of Israel before they are about to enter the Land of Israel and which stands as a reminder to future generations not to forget the past. The recipe for living a good life is to remember the past and to put current success in context so as to be grateful for what we have; grateful for the sacrifice and hard work of previous generations, grateful to the society in which we live and, above all, grateful to God, who enables all this accomplishment. 

    The alternative, according to Moses, is not good: “If you ever forget the Lord your God … you will surely be destroyed”. Seeing the decline of great empires throughout history, we know this to be true today more than ever. Wealth can be sustained only by those who are grateful for it and who do not take it for granted. 
     

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