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5/6 September: PARSHA KI TAVO

Shabbat comes in at 7.26 pm; goes out  at 8.27 pm
Sometimes it’s surprising how many changes have gone on in our prayers and services.   For example, Israelite farmers, when they brought their first fruits to the Temple, were supposed to recite a brief sketch of Israelite history which begins “my father was a wandering Aramean.”  
The declaration is an acknowledgment that the farmers have entered the land that God promised the Israelites’ ancestors, and a recollection of the people’s landless beginnings and their settlement in Egypt.
During second Temple times, the Bikkurim ceremony was expanded and underwent several changes.  Mishnah Bikkurim 3:7 states,  “When people began to refrain from bringing their fruits out of embarrassment that they could not memorize the formula (‘My father was a wandering Aramean . . .’), it was enacted that everyone, even those who could recite the words on their own, would repeat the words after the kohein.”  
This change in law reflects the rabbinic statement, “Derech erets kadma la’torah” that sensitivity must guide the Torah’s prescriptions.   In other words, we must continually strive to make our services approachable, understandable and “user-friendly” for our community.
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Paul Arberman
September 2, 2015