Weekly Reading Insights: Ki Tavo 5764

 

 

Overview of the Weekly Reading: Ki Tavo

To be read on 18 Elul 5764 (Sep. 4)

Torah:Deut. 26:1-29:8
Haftorah: Isaiah 60 (6th of the Seven Haftorahs of Consolation)

Ki Tavo is the 7th Reading out of 11 in Deuteronomy and 50th overall, and 13th out of 54 in overall length.

Pirkei Avot: Chapter (Three), Four

Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) opens with the laws of bringing first fruits and tithes. The Jews are reminded that if they keep the commandments, G-d will reward them. The Jews are told that on the day they cross over the Jordan River into Israel, they should inscribe the Torah in 70 languages onto stones. The stones are to be brought to Mt. Eval and an altar is to be erected with sacrifices offered upon it. Certain tribes are to stand on Mt. Eval and some on Mt. Grizim. The Levites are to stand between the two mountains and announce the blessings and curses for fulfilling G-d's commandments or not. Moshe then makes a covenant between G-d and the Jews, listing in detail the rewards for fulfilling G-d's will and the consequences for not doing so. Ki Tavo concludes with Moshe reminding the Jews of the miracles and victories wrought for them by G-d, and that by keeping this covenant, G-d will grant them success.


FROM THE MASTERS OF KABBALA (K:50-64/Ki Tavo)

From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:50-64/Ki Tavo)

If it was not that the Holy One blessed be He appeared first to arouse mercy on Israel so that they not scrutinize their judgment, Israel would not be able to continue to exist in the world.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:50-64/Ki Tavo)

As we have also seen previously, the involvement in the material world is the feminine side of our personalities. It is thus the light of the feminine principle that must directed upward, to the source of Divine beneficence (G-d's chesed).

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the Shelah, Shney Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (S:50-64/Ki Tavo )

G-d teaches us that performance of His commandments must be accompanied by a greater joy than the joy one feels for all the material blessings G-d has bestowed on one.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


FROM THE CHASSIDIC REBBES (V50-64/Ki Tavo )


"Cursed is the man who will make an engraved or molten image." (Deut. 27:15)

This is the only curse about which the Torah uses the future tense; all others enumerated in the "Reproof" are in the present. The reason is that when it comes to idolatry, thought is considered the same as action. Planning to make an idol is thus just as contemptible as actually making one.


(Rabbi Shimshon of Ostropolye) (from L'chaim #583)


A MYSTICAL CHASSIDIC DISCOURSE

from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org


An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:50-64/Ki Tavo)


With each Torah portion during the month of Elul, we come closer and closer to the High Holidays, our days of judgment and the annual time to renew and improve our connection to G-d. In Shoftim we were told to put judges and police at each of our own 'gates'. Ki Tetzay spoke about doing battle with the evil inclination. Ki Tavo, this week's portion, talks about coming into the Land of Israel. What is the message in the portion that helps prepare us for the High Holidays? The first word of the portion is "Vehaya"-'and it was'. The Talmud teaches that this word denotes a happy event. Being happy is a crucial ingredient in preparing ourselves for the Days of Awe.

Rebbe Leibel Eiger, in his book Toras Emes, points out that only two portions begin with the word 'Vehaya'- Parshat Ekev and Parshat Ki Tavo. The Sages tell us that the three most important things that a person needs to struggle to acquire in his life are Torah, Israel and Mashiach. Mashiach is something that a person is supposed to work on all of the time. Ekev refers to Torah (see Rashi on location). Ki Tavo is about the Land of Israel. When we are successful at acquiring Torah and the Land of Israel we should be happy!

The Mai HaShiluach points out that this week's Torah portion immediately follows the verses at the end of Ki Tetzay commanding us to destroy Amalek. The lesson here is that we can only truly enter Israel only when we have destroyed Amalek. What is Amalek at a personal level today? The word Amalek and the word in Hebrew for 'doubt' have the same numerical value. Amalek is the confusion and doubt we feel in our service of G-d. We are all being pulled and distracted by the world in so many ways. Pushing away our doubts and forcing ourselves to focus on connecting to G-d is how we fulfill the commandment of destroying Amalek today. This allows us to enter the Holy Land and be happy!

There was a chossid of Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Pshische who was known to always be in a sour mood. Once, he was detained on his way to his Rebbe for Shabbat and only arrived on Sunday, unhappily describing all of the details. The Rebbe listened to him patiently and then said, 'Shabbat is the most hospitable host. When Rosh Chodesh (the first day of the new month) falls on Shabbat, Shabbat gives up the last part of the Torah reading and the musaf prayer. When a holiday (like Pesach, Shavuot or Sukkot) falls on Shabbat, Shabbat goes even 'further' by giving away all of the Torah reading and all of the prayers. When Yom Kippur falls on Shabbat (like this year), Shabbat goes so far as to give away the Torah reading, the prayers and the meals.

But what happens when the saddest day of the year, the 9th of Av, the day the Temple was destroyed, falls on Shabbat? Shabbat gives nothing at all, and even pushes off the fast to Sunday. Why? Because a guest with a sour disposition, Shabbat would prefer not to receive until after Shabbat!

The month of Elul is about doing teshuva. But teshuva is most effective when we do it with happiness, knowing that with our effort we are connecting to G-d. May you and your family be signed and sealed for a good and sweet new year.

 

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul Leiter

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here)


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