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This week's 10-Minute Torah (September 17, 2022): "Parashat Ki Tavo" 5782

Parashat Ki Tavo 5782 / פָּרָשַׁת כִּי־תָבוֹא

17 September 2022 / 21 Elul 5782

Parashat Ki Tavo is the 50th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading.

Torah Portion: Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8

Ki Tavo (“When You Come”) opens by describing the ceremony of the first fruit offering (bikkurim) and the declaration made upon the completion of tithing. It concludes with a detailed description of blessings that follow obedience to God's laws and curses that come with their desecration. [1]

Triennial year 3

1: 27:11-28:3 · 19 p’sukim ·

2: 28:4-6 · 3 p’sukim ·

3: 28:7-11 · 5 p’sukim ·

4: 28:12-14 · 3 p’sukim ·

5: 28:15-69 · 55 p’sukim ·

6: 29:1-5 · 5 p’sukim ·

7: 29:6-8 · 3 p’sukim ·

maf: 29:6-8 · 3 p’sukim ·

Haftarah: Isaiah 60:1-22 · 22 p’sukim

Commentary and Divrei Torah Sefaria OU Torah Jewish Theological Seminary

Soncino Chumash: pp. 864 - 873 Triennial Year 3 (Full Kriyah pp. 859 - 873)

Artscroll Chumash: pp. 1072 - 1085 Triennial Year 3 (Full Kriyah pp. 1068 - 1085)

Etz Chaim Chumash: pp. 1146 - 1159 Triennial Year 3 (Full Kriyah pp. 1140 – 1159)

Chapter 28 of this parashat towards the end contains the “Tohahah”, or “Reproach” or “Warning”. It is a repeat of the text found in Leviticus chapter 26. It starts out with a few verses stating the rewards if the Israelites observe the covenant and do the mitzvot of Torah.

The chapter then goes on for fifty-three verses to discuss the consequences, punishments actually, of straying from the covenant. These are not just the opposite of the rewards but spare no verbiage emphasizing very bleak conditions. Isn’t it interesting the number of verses to discuss the punishments vs. the rewards? As it has been stated previously, we Israelites are a “stiff-necked people”.

There have been many commentaries that seek to resolve the application of these curses. Have we Jews been enduring this punishment over the last millennia that explain the oppression wreaked upon us? Are there some offences we’ve committed that justify those acts?

Perhaps we can use the discussions of such warnings as “The Rebellious Son” as a model. This is a judgment that the sages deem to not be literally but rather serve as a warning. Perhaps this is a similar admonition. Consider that these decrees are also not to be taken literally but rather emphasize the idea that we should remain faithful to our covenant with Hashem and observe the commandments.

This is what makes us strong as a people. We don’t win wars by might, nor prosperity by skillful and artful business practices alone, but rather by Hashem’s hand are we a prosperous and successful people. Observing our commandments is what gives us the resolve to be successful in our undertakings and overcome challenges. We are the people of the Book, and the Tohahah reminds us to remain so.

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