Friday, September 12, 2014

Ki Tavo- What Will You Achieve?

Deuteronomy: (26:1-29:8)פרשת כי תבוא.                      

The title of Parsha Ki Tavo, כי תבוא,translates into English as When you will come. The Parsha opens with the commandment, for when the people come into the Land, to bring to G-d their bikurim, the first of their fruits from the land. Each person is commanded to place the first fruit in a basket and bring the basket to the altar of G-d and recite, before the priest,Aramean sought to destroy my father and he went down to Egypt and lived there with a small number of people and there he became a great, mighty and numerous nation. And the Egyptians treated us cruelly and afflicted us, and they imposed hard labor on us. So we cried out to the L-rd, G-d of our fathers, and the L-rd heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. And the Lord took us out from Egypt with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm, with great awe, and with signs and wonders. And He brought us to this place, and He gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. And now, behold, I have brought the first of the fruit of the ground which you, L-rd, have given to me. (26:5-10).

We are also commanded to give a tithe of our produce to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be satisfied (26:12).

Moses then commands the people to, when they cross over the Jordan, set up great, plastered stones and write on the stones the words of the Torah. He also commands the people to proclaim the blessings and the curses on the tops of Mount Grizim and Mount Ebal, respectively. The tribes of Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin were positioned on Mount Grizim and the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali were positioned on Mount Ebal while the elders of the Levite tribe and the Holy Ark were positioned between the two mountains. The Levites were to face the mountain alternately and proclaim the blessings and the curses in a loud voice (27:14) to each of which the tribes were to answer Amen.

The Torah then tells of the many rewards and blessings that one will receive if he/she listens to G-ds word and obeys His commandments. For example, Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shalt you be in the field (28:3), and Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out (28:6). The L-rd will open unto you His good treasure the heaven to give the rain of your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. And the L-rd will make you the head, and not the tail; and you shalt be above only, and you shall not be beneath (28:12-13). On the other hand, one who does not heed G-ds word and neglects His commandments will be punished with disease, drought and misfortune.

The Parsha concludes with Moses preparing the people for the renewal of the covenant that we will read in next weeks Parsha Nitzavim. Moses tells the people here that although they saw great wonders and miracles in Egypt and in the desert, G-d did not give you a heart to know, or eyes to see, or ears to hear until this day (29:3).

(והיה כי תבוא אל הארץ אשר ה נותן לך נחלה (כו: א

When you enter the land that the Lord your G-d is giving you as a heritage (26:1)

Although the word והיה or in the phrasewhen you come is understood as a point in the future, the word והיה can also be read as part of a conditional phrase, if you come. This is to teach us that our settling in Israel is conditional; only if we observe G-d s commandments can we settle in the land but if we disobey G-d, then:

ונספחתם מעל האדמה אשר אתה בא שמה לרשתה will be uprooted from the land that you are about to to enter and possess(28:63).

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