Torah Weekly

For the week ending 24 September 2016 / 21 Elul 5776

Parshat Ki Tavo

by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair - www.seasonsofthemoon.com
The Color of Heaven Artscroll

Overview

When Bnei Yisrael dwell in the Land of Israel, its first fruits are to be taken to the Temple and given to the kohen in a ceremony expressing recognition that it is G-d who guides the history of the Jewish People throughout all ages. This passage forms one of the central parts of the Haggadah that we read at the Passover Seder. On the last day of Pesach of the fourth and seventh years of the seven-year shemitta cycle, a person must recite a disclosure stating that he has indeed distributed the tithes to the appropriate people in the prescribed manner. With this mitzvah Moshe concludes the commandments that G-d has told him to give to the Jewish People. Moshe exhorts them to walk in G-d's ways, because they are set aside as a treasured people to G-d. When Bnei Yisrael cross the Jordan River they are to make a new commitment to the Torah. Huge stones are to be erected and the Torah is to be written on them in the world's seventy primary languages, after which they are to be covered over with a thin layer of plaster. Half the tribes will stand on Mount Gerizim, and half on Mount Eval, and the levi'im will stand in a valley between the two mountains. There the levi'im will recite 12 commandments and all the people will answer "amen" to the blessings and the curses. Moshe then details the blessings that will be bestowed upon Bnei Yisrael. These blessings are both physical and spiritual. However if the Jewish People do not keep the Torah, Moshe details a chilling picture of destruction, resulting in exile and wandering among the nations.

Insights

The Man Who Has It All

“...you shall only be above and not below…” (28:13)

Someone who lives his life pampered by a brace of Bentley Continentals, a super-yacht, and an executive jet with its own Jacuzzi, is not going to be overly excited when he takes delivery of his third Bentley.

But give him a paradise island in the South Pacific with golden beaches, thousands of gently swaying palms, and year-round gorgeous climate, and he’ll sense he really went up in the world.

On the other hand, someone who usually takes the bus to work will feel he really made it when takes delivery of his new Honda Accord.

It all depends on your expectations.

“...you shall only be above and not below”

The enormous spiritual and physical bounty that the Torah promises the Jewish People if we faithfully observe all its precepts will not be a merely incremental improvement, but it will be great enough to satisfy even the man who has it all.

  • Sources: based on the Bikurei Aviv in Mayana shel Torah

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