Ki Tavo | כי תבוא | “When you come in”
–Ebal: The Mount of Cursing ; Gerizim: The Mount of Blessing ; Mount Ebal to Mount Gerizim: From Cursed to Blessed
– Ephraim and Manasseh are in Yosef on the side of the Mount Gerizim the side of blessing!…
–Lamb is standing at Mount Zion…! One [Jacob] to live in the holy land, the other to live on Mount Seir
This Week Portion begins the fiftieth reading from the Torah with the words, “Then it shall be, when you enter the land which the LORD your G-d gives you as an inheritance” ( Deuteronomy 26 : 1 ). In Hebrew, the words for “when you enter” are ki tavo. The opening words “Ki Tavo”, “when you shall enter”, are echoed three times in relation to the communal action to be taken upon Israel’s crossing the Jordan and entering the land promised to their ancestors by G-d. To establish G-d as their focus upon their arrival was of utmost importance; acknowledging “G-d’s bringing them” rather than “their arrival”. This Torah portion begins with laws regarding first fruits and tithes.
- The Israelites are instructed to express their gratitude to G-d for their bountiful harvests and freedom from slavery by tithing ten percent of their crops for the Levite, the stranger, the orphan, and the widow.
- The people are told to display on large stones G-d’s commandments for all to see.
- The Levites are to proclaim curses upon those who violate G-d’s commandments.
- The Israelites are told that if they obey G-d’s mitzvot faithfully, they will receive every blessing imaginable. They are also told that if do not fulfill their brit with G-d, many curses will descend upon them.
- Moses reminds the Israelites of the miracles they witnessed in the wilderness and commands them to observe the terms of the covenant so that they may succeed in all that they undertake.
First Fruits: ( Bikkurim )
The ceremony of the bringing of the first fruits ( bikkurim ) to the Temple.The Mitzvot of the first fruits and the completion of the ma’aser cycles. Both are accompanied by special declarations of Hashem’s mastery over the land, and man’s responsibility to keep the commandments of Hashem. This is followed by the procedure to be followed at the end of the triennial tithing cycle, in which the farmer declares that he has performed his tithing duties and asks G-d to bless the people.
Once again, the Torah as different levels and we should strive to scrutinise the different levels if we want to see the deep meaning, called “sod” in Hebrew, the mystery of the Torah.
“And it shall be, when you come into the land which יהוה your Elohim is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in i….. -Deuteronomy 26:1
“It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wrong of these nations that יהוה your Elohim drives them out from before you, in order to establish the word which יהוה swore to your fathers, to Aḇraham, to Yitsḥaq, and to Yaʽaqoḇ. -Deuteronomy 9:5
that you shall take some of the first of all the fruits of the soil which you bring from your land that יהוה your Elohim is giving you, and shall put it in a basket and go to the place where יהוה your Elohim chooses to make His Name dwell there. – Deuteronomy 26:2
“And you shall come to the one who is priest in those days, and say to him, ‘I shall declare today to יהוה your Elohim that I have come to the land which יהוה swore to our fathers to give us.’ -Deuteronomy 26:3
“And the priest shall take the basket from your hand and place it before the altar of יהוה your Elohim. -Deuteronomy 26:4
Commanded to the children of Israel when they enter the promise land:
‘And when you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall reckon their fruit as uncircumcised. For three years it is as uncircumcised to you, it is not eaten. ‘And in the fourth year all its fruit is set-apart – praises to יהוה. ‘And in the fifth year you eat its fruit, so that it increases its yield to you. I am יהוה your Elohim. -Lev 19:23-25
The earth is commanded to bear fruit according to their kind.
And Elohim said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the plant that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth.” And it came to be so. -Genesis 1:11
Trees represents righteous people:
“By their fruits you shall know them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? -Matthew 7:16
makes the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree rotten and its fruit rotten, for a tree is known by its fruit. -Matthew 12:33
Now if the first-fruit is set-apart, the lump is also. And if the root is set-apart, so are the branches. -Romans 11:16
But now is the Messiah risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. -1 Corinthians 15:20
1 Corinthians 15:20
This week’s parasha starts with Moses putting the choice of a blessing or a curse before the people and then telling them that when they enter the Land they will put the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal.
Moshe instructs the Children of Israel to perform a covenantal ceremony in the Land of Israel, involving several components: the writing of the Torah on stones, the erection of an altar and offering of sacrifices, and the proclamation of blessings on Mt. Gerizim and curses on Mt. Eival. it concludes with the list of curses to be recited in this ceremony.
Moshe reminds the Children of Israel of all the miracles Hashem has done for them since the Exodus, and urges them to fulfill their covenant with G-d so that they may succeed in all their endeavors. The Israelites are commanded to bring the first of their fruit to the Temple, and to deliver all tithes to their proper recipients.
Moses explains how the blessings and curses are to be proclaimed on Mts. Grizzim and Ebal when the Jewish nation enters into Israel. He then details the blessings they will receive for following the commandments of the Torah, and the calamities which will result from disregarding them.
Moshe presents a statement of commitment between Hashem and His People. We are to keep the Torah and Hashem guarantees us praise, fame and glory as the “highest of all the nations”. ( Deuteronomy 26:19 ) Upon crossing the Yarden, the Nation will publicly declare its acceptance of Hashem’s covenant by: inscribing the Torah upon twelve stones; building them as a monument; and the ceremony of blessings and curses that is to take place between the opposing mountains, Har Grizim and Har Ayval.
Ebal: The Mount of Cursing – Gerizim: The Mount of Blessing
Come and see the secret of this matter. There are two types of wrath. One type of wrath is blessed from Above and from Below and is called “blessed”. This type is as is written about Abraham after he killed the five kings who kidnapped Lot: “Blessed be Abram to the Most High G‑d, possessor of heaven and earth.” ( Genesis. 14:19) He dealt out judgement on the wicked .
There is also a type of wrath that is cursed Above and Below, and that [this kelipa] is called “cursed”. This is as is written in the verse [about the snake after he caused man to sin]: “Cursed are you more than all the beasts and more than all the birds, and more than all the wild animals in the field.”(Genesis 3:14) .
Anger is anger that leads to killing in the world. This is as is said [by Jacob]: “Cursed be their anger [ in Hebrew, “appam” ] for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel.” -Genesis 49:7
And this is the secret of the two mountains, as is written: “And you shall put the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Eyval.” -(Deutronomy 11:29) So also one of these mountains is called cursed and one blessed.
In the same manner two sons issued from Isaac [representing the sefira of gevura], one blessed and one cursed Above and Below. Each departed to their respective sides. One [Jacob] to live in the holy land, the other to live on Mount Seir as is written: “A hunter, a man of the field”. (Gen. 25:27) ,One has his dwelling place in the desert, and in desolation and destruction, and the other dwells in tents.
The boys grew; and Esav became a skillful hunter, an outdoorsman; while Ya‘akov was a quiet man who stayed in the tents. – Genesis 25 : 26-27
From one issues forth all blessings Above and Below, and all goodness and all light and all redemption and all salvation, and from the other side issues all curses and all destruction and all spilling of blood and all the evil and wickedness in the world.
Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, so be it. -Deuteronomy 27:26
When reading we should keep in mind that the Mount Ebal is on the left side thus representing the left side of the tree of life the side of “gewurah” the place of judgement. Judgement is directly connected with curse.
At Mount Ebal, the Levites shouted a list of twelve curses on the people for disobedience that included idolatry, dishonoring father and mother, dishonesty, stealing, lying, sexual immorality, and murder (Deut 27:15-26). The last curse is a summary of all the other curses, “Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.“
Redemptive work of Messiah ben Yosef:
Who redeemed us from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13), which came upon us as a result of our sinning (sin is the violation of YHVH’s LAW ( 1 John 3:4] ), bring a death penalty upon us (the wages of sin is death ( Rom. 6:23 ) Now does this make sense why the Torah and the altar were placed on MountEbal? It was another one of the many prophetic shadow pictures in the Torah pointing to the redemptive work of Messiah ben Yosef. Does this strengthen your faith that Yeshua is indeed the Messiah, the Lamb of Elohim slain from the foundation of the earth.
Messiah hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree: -Gal 3:13 ; “a fragrant offering and sacrifice to G-d” ( Ephesians 5:2).
“The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me“ -Deuteronomy 28:20.
“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it” -James 2:10.
Ramban (in Deut. 11:29 suggests that Mt. Gerizim is to the south and Mt. Eival to the north. and in biblical terms the north is often identified with evil (as in Jeremiah. 1:14): He said to me, “Destruction will boil over from the north on all who live in this land,
The right is seen as the side of goodness and the left as the opposite . A wise man’s heart leads him rightly,but a fool’s heart leads him astray;– Eccles. 10:2
Josephus notes: “of Gerizzim, situate on the right hand, and Ebal, on the left”
Josephus writes the book 4, chapter 8: ………..Accordingly, he delivered these books to the priest, with the ark; into which he also put the ten commandments, written on two tables. He delivered to them the tabernacle also, and exhorted the people, that when they had conquered the land, and were settled in it, they should not forget the injuries of the Amalekites, but make war against them, and inflict punishment upon them for what mischief they did them when they were in the wilderness; and that when they had got possession of the land of the Canaanites, and when they had destroyed the whole multitude of its inhabitants, as they ought to do, they should erect an altar that should face the rising sun, not far from the city of Shechem, between the two mountains, that of Gerizzim, situate on the right hand, and that called Ebal, on the left;
and that the army should be so divided, that six tribes should stand upon each of the two mountains, and with them the Levites and the priests. And that first, those that were upon Mount Gerizzim should pray for the best blessings upon those who were diligent about the worship of G-d, and the observation of his laws, and who did not reject what Moses had said to them; while the other wished them all manner of happiness also; and when these last put up the like prayers, the former praised them. After this, curses were denounced upon those that should transgress those laws, they ,answering one another alternately, by way of confirmation of what had been said. Moses also wrote their blessings and their curses, that they might learn them so thoroughly, that they might never be forgotten by length of time. And when he was ready to die, he wrote these blessings and curses upon the altar, on each side of it; where he says also the people stood, and then sacrificed and offered burnt-offerings, though after that day they never offered upon it any other sacrifice, for it was not lawful so to do.
The right side is also the place where our master Yeshua stand “at the right hand of the father” -Acts 7:55
G-d “has blessed us in Messiah with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” -Ephesians 1:3.
from the Sages interpretation of the ceremony of the blessing and the curse also is better understood in the context of similarities with the story of the Tree of Knowledge (Mishnah, Sotah 7.5):
How were the blessings and curses proclaimed? The Israelites having crossed the Jordan and arrived at Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal, … six tribes ascended to the summit of Mount Gerizim and six tribes ascended to the summit of Mount Ebal, while the priests, Levites and Aaron stood below, between them, with the priests surrounding the Ark, the Levites surrounding the priests, and all Israel on either side as it is said: “All Israel, with their elders, officials, and magistrates, stood on either side of the Ark” (Josh. 8:33). They turned towards Mount Gerizim and began with the blessing: ‘Blessed be anyone who does not make a sculptured or molten image,’ and both groups answered Amen, then they turned to face Mount Ebal and began with the curse: “Cursed be anyone who makes a sculptured or molten image” (Deut. 27:15), and both groups answered Amen, until all the blessings and curses had been completed.
Turning this way and that towards the two hills is not spelled out in Scripture, for there it only says that the curses are to be proclaimed ( Deut. 27), not that blessings are to be proclaimed alternating with curses, but perhaps this alternating motion is symbolized by the imagery of the ever-turning sword between the two in the Garden of Eden.
Blessing and curses are built on the principle of creation that Elohim established on the first day: And Elohim saw the light, that it was good, and Elohim separated the light from the darkness. -Genesis 1:4
Light and darkness are euphemism for good and evil in Hebrew “yetzer Tov” (good inclination) and “yetzer HaRa” (bad inclination) everything is built on this principle, hot and cold, rich and poor, life and death, righteous and wicked…..
Zohar comments on the concepts of Left Side/ North : A “hidden cavern in the North” (north = left side = origin/location of evil realm).
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 141a – ‘He whose soul leaves him in the Holy Land, if his body is buried upon the day of his death, is in no way dominated by the spirit of impurity. Therefore it says of one who has been put to death by hanging that “his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day.. that thy land be not defiled” (Deut. XXI, 23), for at night the impure spirit is given permission to rule. However, although these last are given temporary power, they cannot exercise their sway within the boundaries of the Holy Land, because it is impossible for them to enter it unless they can come upon an organ or means of approach in the parts and fat of those sacrifices that are consumed at night for the purpose of feeding other (foreign) kinds… But even these portions were not left with the purpose of attracting evil potencies to the Holy Land, but rather, on the contray, to entice them away from it, for, as has been said on another occasion, the smoke of these parts of the sacrifices was wont to ascend crookedly and drift away until it reached that hidden cavern in the North in which all the powers of the “other side” have their abode; into which cave the smoke would enter and all the demons and impure spirits be nourished thereby. But the smoke of those sacrifices which were burnt during the day ascended in a straight line unto its rightful place and all the proper spirits received nourishment from it. Over the bodies of the righteous, who were not seduced in this world by the lusts of the hard shell, the impure spirit has no power at all, because they did not associate themselves therewith. But just as the wicked in this life were seduced by that powerful shell of evil and its pleasures and practices, so are their bodies unclean after the soul has left them.
…..and Mosheh commanded the people on that day, saying, “These are to stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people, when you have passed over the Yarden: Shimʽon, and Lewi, and Yehuḏah, and Yissasḵar, and Yoseph, and Binyamin. “And these are to stand on Mount Eyḇal to curse: Re’uḇĕn, Gaḏ, and Asher, and Zeḇulun,Dan, and Naphtali. “and the Lĕwites shall speak with a loud voice and say to all the men of Yisraél: -Deutronomy 27:11-13
With the solemn erection of the stones with the law written upon them, Israel was to transfer to the land the blessing and curse of the law, as was already commanded in Deut11:29; Expression to the blessing and the curse: to the former upon Mount Gerizim, and to the latter upon Ebal. On the situation of these mountains, see at Deu_11:29. To this end six tribes were to station themselves upon the top or side of Gerizim, and six upon the top or side of Ebal. The blessing was to be uttered by the tribes of Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin, who sprang from the two wives of Jacob; and the curse by Reuben, with the two sons of Leah’s maid Zilpah, and by Zebulun, with Dan and Naphtali, the sons of Rachel’s maid Bilhah. The choice fell upon Reuben, because he had forfeited his right of primogeniture by his incest (Gen_49:4), and upon Zebulun, as the youngest son of Leah. “They shall stand there upon the curse:” i.e., to pronounce the curse.
It is also note worthy to see that Ephraim and Manasseh are in Yosef on the side of the Mount Gerizim the side of blessing!
G-d said “you will be my treasured people” (Deut. 26:18) thus indicating the intense relationship he desired with Israel. To be His treasured people, the laws and rules are not just to be followed but “to be observed with all their heart and soul” (Deut. 26:16). Blessing is to be found only in a thing hidden from the eye. (Taanit, 8). The initial task upon crossing the Jordan was a means of bringing the people’s focus to that commitment. It would reaffirm to them, as a community, the code they would live by, which would distinguish them from other nations, and be “ proof of your wisdom and discernment to other peoples” (Deut. 4:6).
The first part of the inaugural event upon their feet landing in the land G-d promised, would affirm their covenant with Him; as soon as (Deut. 27:2) when (Deut. 27:3) upon (Deut. 27:4) they cross the Jordan. They are to set up large stones, cover them with plaster and inscribe upon them the words of the Teaching they received, most distinctly. The community is to write a Torah on stone, to affix the Teaching upon their hearts (Mishlei 3:3). In the Talmud it is asserted that the words “most distinctly” mean that the Teaching was to be written in 70 languages (sotah 36.a), “nations shall walk by your light” (Isaiah 60:3). They are then to build an altar of unhewn stones to the Lord and offer sacrifices of well-being and eat them, rejoicing before the Lord your G-d (Deut. 27:7). “Serve the Lord with joy, for the joy of man draws toward him another joy from above” (Zohar, ii, 184b.).
G-d’s desire for Israel is the formation of holy people (Deut. 26:19), in a covenantal relationship with Him. “No man is ever purified except with the words of Torah” (Zohar HaKodesh 3:80b).
UNIVERSAL TORAH: KI TAVO – By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
Our parshah, KI TAVO, puts the seal on Moses’ detailed exposition of the commandments in the Mishneh Torah (=Deuteronomy) — the “Second” or repeated Torah — and recounts the Covenant that G-d struck with Israel in the plains of Moab prior to their entry into the Land. KI TAVO thus brings us into the closing sections of the Five Books of Moses, the very climax of the Torah. This is fitting reading as we approach the coming Day of Judgment — Rosh Hashanah — and the Days of Awe.
The commandments contained in our parshah are almost the last commandments written in the Torah — except for the two commandments contained in next week’s reading, the double parshah of NITZAVIM-VAYELECH. (Those relate to the teaching of the Torah — its public reading at the HAKHEL assembly in the Temple following the Sabbatical year — and to the accurate transmission of the Torah through writing a Torah scroll).
THE FUTURE MODE — THANKYOU
The commandments contained in our present parshah, KI TAVO, relate to the longed-for, glorious future: “And it shall be when you come to the Land.”. The opening Hebrew word of the parshah is a permutation of the holy Name of HaShem. This seals His eternal promise that the time will indeed arrive when YOU WILL COME TO THE LAND. The time will come when you will be able to present your first fruits with gratitude in the Holy Temple, separate your priestly tithes and other gifts, and eat the fruits of your labor within the walls of the Holy City.
The opening section of KI TAVO gives the commandment to present the first fruits in a basket by the altar in the Temple as a gift for the Cohen-priest, including the declaration of thanks made on presentation of the fruits. The text of this declaration, “The Aramite (=Laban) tried to destroy my father (Jacob).” (Deut. 26:5-9), is so fundamental to the identity of Israel that it forms the basis of the Pesach Haggadah with which we retell our national story every year on the night celebrating the birth of the nation through the Exodus. The main body of the Haggadah consists of a word-by-word homiletic commentary on these verses.
The mitzvah of the first fruits is immediately followed by the commandments relating to tithes, which also involve a declaration. Periodically all accumulated gifts of agricultural produce to the Levite and poor etc. that have not yet been distributed must be cleared out of the house. This is done after the end of the first three years of the Sabbatical cycle, on the eve of Pesach of the fourth year. Following the distribution of the remaining gifts, the householder declares that he has fulfilled each one of the various commandments relating to agricultural produce in their proper order — therefore, “Look down from the dwelling place of Your holiness from the heavens and bless Your people.” (Deut. 26:13-15). This is known as VIDUI MAASROS, the “confession” over the tithes. This declaration is the opposite of a confession of sin. It is an enumeration of the merits gained by faithful adherence to the commandments of the Torah, like a laborer listing what he has done for his master before inviting his blessing.
With the mitzvah of the first fruits and the commandments relating to the tithes, gifts and consumption of the produce of the Land, the Torah has come the full circle. At the beginning of Genesis, we learned of man’s basic sin, which was bound up with the eating of fruit: the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Man took without asking — he stole, with all the consequences. The serpent tricked Adam into taking the fruit, and thereby brought death upon him and robbed him of his blessings. Jacob had to use trickery against Esau and Laban to retrieve the blessings back from the serpent. Jacob’s children had to go down into Egypt in order to rectify all that fell through the eating of the forbidden fruit. They had to endure slavery in order to learn the meaning of freedom and its obligations. Only after much toil and tribulation did they come to the Land, wrest it from and cleanse it of the accursed Canaanites, seed of the serpent, till it, plant and tend it until they saw their first-fruits.
A person inspecting the long-awaited luscious fruits gradually ripening on his tree of figs or pomegranates would tie a thread to mark out the choicest first fruits. Instead of marking them out for his own self-gratification, he would set them aside to present as a gift to the priest at the side of the Temple altar. The first fruits — BIKURIM — relate to the BECHORA, the birth-right, which alludes to CHOCHMAH, “wisdom”. It was wisdom that Adam defiled in taking the forbidden fruit. Esau, embodiment of the serpent, rejected the birth-right of wisdom, but Jacob took it back — and vowed at the site of Adam’s creation to dedicate the choice first tithe to G-d.
The rectification of the trickery of the serpent, which tempts man to make self-gratification his only altar, is through the steady application of the Torah commandments that regulate how and what we take from the world around us, including the very food we put into our mouths. Before we enjoy the fruits of our labors, we must think of the priest, the Levite and the poor, and separate all the obligatory gifts and tithes. The fulfillment of all the relevant commandments elevates and puts blessing into the fruits that remain for our own enjoyment.
In the declarations over the presentation of the first fruits in the Temple and over the separation of gifts and tithes, man uses the unique faculty G-d has given him — speech — as a means of deepening his connection with G-d through heightened consciousness of his identity as an Israelite and as G-d’s servant fulfilling His commandments. Saying “Thank You” to G-d out loud is very important.
Presentation of the first fruits in the Temple is the very first of the agricultural commandments fulfilled by the farmer: he thinks about it while the fruit is still ripening on the tree, before he even begins harvesting. The declaration about tithes comes after an entire cycle of three years of harvests and steady fulfillment of all the intricate details of the commandments applying to the fruits in different years. First comes Terumah, the gift to the priest, and then the First Tithe (Maaser) for the Levite. In the first and second years, the Second Tithe (Maaser Sheni) is to be eaten in purity in Jerusalem by its owner, but in the third year, the owner cannot eat the Second Tithe himself. He must give it to the poor (Maaser Oni). If a person has fulfilled all these commandments in all their details, he is entitled to stand up after all this work and list what he has accomplished.
There is a practical lesson for us here as we stand now in the middle of the month of Elul, the period of TESHUVAH, repentance, self-examination and inner work. Teshuvah is not only a matter of confessing sins. We have all sinned, but we have all done a lot of good too. In looking at ourselves and weighing our lives and behavior, we must give due consideration to all the good things that we do. When we weigh their true worth and importance as acts of loving obedience to the King, it will inspire us to go forward with greater confidence, in the knowledge that if we strive to do His will, He will surely bless us.
* * *
AND TO GO IN HIS WAYS
The last commandment contained in KI TAVO, based on the words “and to go in His ways” (Deut. 26:17) is to model our personal traits on the traits and attributes of G-d. “Just as He is merciful and gracious, so you should be merciful and gracious…” The refinement of our traits is the inner work in the heart that G-d asks of the Israelites, an essential part of the spiritual work of the month of Elul. The repetition of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy in the Selichos (penitential prayers) recited in this season comes to arouse us to follow these attributes in our daily lives.
It is indeed the traits of kindness and compassion that are the marks of the true Israelite and the distinctive attributes of AM SEGULAH, the “treasured nation” (Deut. 26:18) whom G-d has chosen to observe His Torah and enjoy its blessings. The very exaltedness of this calling gives Israel a weighty responsibility. Thus the Covenant entails not only privileges and blessings but also heavy sanctions for its infringement. Our parshah impresses upon us the seriousness of the Covenant with its account of the solemn ceremony that was to accompany the people’s entry into the Land. The Torah was to be written on stone, and the twelve tribes were to stand on two mountains adjacent to Shechem, six on each mountain, while the priests and Levites standing in the middle recited a litany of blessings and curses.
The first reference to this ceremony was made at the beginning of parshas RE’EH, which we read four weeks ago, before Moses entered into the details of the law code of the Covenant in the trilogy of RE’EH, SHOFTIM and KI SEITZEI. Now, in KI TAVO, after completion of the law code, the Torah depicts this striking ceremony to impress upon us that Israel’s presence in the Land is not for the sake of having mere territory. The Land is given as the place in which to fulfill the Torah. It is when Israel dwells in the land in order to observe the commandments that they are “for praise and for a name and for glory. a holy nation” (Deut. 26:19).
On entry into the land, they were to set up great stones washed with lime and write the Torah on them “with clear explanation” (Deut. 27:8) — “in the seventy languages” (Rashi ad loc.). The fact that the Torah had to be written in all the languages of the world shows that the presence of Israel in the land is not merely of particular interest to Israel alone but of universal significance for the whole of mankind.
For this reason, the present series of commentaries is entitled UNIVERSAL TORAH even though many sections of the Torah deal with commandments that apply exclusively to Israel and not to the other Children of Noah. Nevertheless, numerous commandments and teachings in the Torah apply to all humanity. Moreover, Israel’s observance of the Torah and their possession of the Land of Israel as the place designed for this are in the interests of the whole of humanity. As expressed in the words of the rabbis, “If the nations understood the value to them of the Holy Temple, they would have surrounded it with armed guards”. All those whose actions and policies obstruct the building of the Temple are doing a terrible disservice to the entire world.
Israel and its people and Jews everywhere are the focus of interest for everyone in the world precisely because of our exalted mission as the Treasured Nation. The history of Israel and the Jews, with its great heights and terrible lows and degradation, is a lesson writ large for all humanity on the righteousness of G-d. He gave a Covenant with blessings and curses, and the infringement of the Covenant has brought all the curses listed in the parshah in all their terrible details.
If so, fulfillment of the Covenant will certainly bring all the amazing blessings listed in our parshah. Our obligation in this generation is to return to the Covenant with all our hearts so that we will rapidly witness the complete redemption, peace for Israel and the spread of the light of the Torah from Zion to the whole world.
Shabbat Shalom!- Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
Haftarat Ki-Tavo – ‘When you come in’ (Isaiah 60:1-22)
This week’s portion from the Prophets is focused upon HaShem’s promise to gather the outcasts of Israel from the four corners of the earth, and to bring them back into the Land.
Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of HaShem is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but HaShem will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. -Isaiah 60:1-3
Notice, how the focus is on Israel returning to the Land:
Lift up your eyes all around, and see: they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall swell with joy; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you. -Isaiah 60:4-5
Who are these who fly like a cloud, and like doves to their roosts? Surely the coastlands shall wait for Me; and the ships of Tarshish will come first, to bring your sons from afar, their silver and their gold with them, to the name of HaShem your G-d, and to the Holy One of Israel, because He has glorified you. “The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you; for in My wrath I struck you, but in My favor I have had mercy on you. Therefore your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day or night, that men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles, and their kings in procession. For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, and those nations shall be utterly ruined. -Isaiah 60:8-12
Also the sons of those who afflicted you shall come bowing to you, and all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you The City of HaShem, Zion of the Holy One of Israel. -Isaiah 60:14
Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no one went through you, I will make you an eternal excellence, a joy of many generations. -Isaiah 60:15
But the best thing of all is this: The dwelling place of the Almighty will be seen again, in His holy city. The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; but HaShem will be to you an everlasting light, and your G-d your glory. Your sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your moon withdraw itself; for HaShem will be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended. -Isaiah 60:19-20
Also your people shall all be righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified.
This is the verse that the Talmud (Sanhedrin 90a) draws from to declare that all Israel has a part in the World to Come.
Yes, in that day, all Israel will be saved. All Israel will be the planting of HaShem. May it be soon and in our days.
Prayed three times daily, the Shemoneh Esrei [the Amidah] is the most famous of our prayers after the Sh’ma itself. It is our constant reminder of the faithfulness of G-d, and our dependence upon His promises. One of the blessings of the Shemoneh Esrei is blessing Him as G-d Who gathers in the dispersed of His people Israel. He has promised to return the outcasts of Israel to their Land.
Sound the great shofar for our freedom, raise the banner to gather our exiles and gather us together from the four corners of the earth. Blessed are You, HaShem, Who gathers in the dispersed of His people Israel.
May it be soon happen in our days! Baruch HaShem!!!
We will see that the children of Israel return to Most High and Torah of Mashiach, And will hug in the Holy Land, and by obeying and listening the “VOICE of Most Ancient Holy One of Israel”, will bring offerings in a righteous way on the holy mountain and also bring the Ark of the covenant with pure heart in the right place ( i.e In Har HaBayit, on the foundation Stone) .