Shabbat Commentary

31 Aug/1 Sept : Ki Tavo comes in 7:35 pm,  ends  8:36 pm

Ki Tavo contains three major segments that continue the review of the law that Moses began in Ki Tetze. First, he tells the Jewish people that when they enter and settle the land, they are to bring the first fruits as sacrifices and details the ceremony for doing so.

In his Guide for the Perplexed, Maimonides states that this is because “the first of everything is to be devoted to the Lord; and by doing so we accustom ourselves … to limit our appetites for eating and our desire for property.”

Jews in ancient times, after a long pilgrimage to Jerusalem, would bring an offering to the Temple and proclaim, “I have come to the Land which the Lord swore to our fathers to give to them,” and then present their baskets to the priests, saying: ” …..A wandering Aramean was my father, and he went down to Egypt and sojourned there, few in number; and he became there a nation, great, mighty and populous…” (Deuteronomy 26: 3-5).

This verse should sound familiar, because it’s found in the Passover Haggadah and is a part of the narrative of the Exodus. Nechama Leibowitz, the late Israeli Bible commentator, points out that, just as in the Passover Haggadah, we learn that in “every generation every Jew is obliged to see him/herself as if s/he had gone out of Egypt,” so at the time of the offering of the first fruits, “every generation is to also regard itself brought to the Land of Israel by God.”

Written by Rabbi Paul Arberman



August 30, 2018