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Ki Tavo – A thought for the week by Michael Lewis

The Parashah this week is Ki Tavo. Most of us tend to associate the reading with the “Tochechah”, that reading of curses that we first heard in the Sedra Bechokutai. Said quietly and quickly in an undertone it is a frightening recital but, rather than curses, they can be seen as rebukes. Why were they repeated? In Bechokutai they were aimed at the nation but in Ki Tavo they are directed to the individual.

We read

The sky above your head will be copper and the earth beneath you iron. HaShem will give the rain of your land over to dust, and sand from the sky will descend on you until you are destroyed.

It is particularly apt in our own times when climate change is all about us. It is a potent reminder that each of us has a responsibility to protect our environment.

We are a nation of story tellers. The Parasha begins with the bringing of the first fruits to the tent of meeting and the declaration that we recite as we tell the story of Pesach to our children.

An Aramean sought to destroy my forefather

Our relationship with God is unique. We remember and we recall that it is a covenant with God as our teacher. Within this Parasha Moses reminds us that

You have selected the Lord this day, to be your God
And the Lord has selected you this day
You have seen all that the Lord did
Yet until this day, the Lord has not given you a heart to know, eyes to see and ears to hear.

On Yom Kippur, we sing

Ki anu amekha ve’atah Elohenu
For we are Your people and You are our God

And end with

Ki anu ma’amirekha ve’atah ma’amirenu
We have chosen you and You have chosen us

This can also be translated as

We are Your ma’amar (what-was-spoken), and You are our ma’amir (the One Who-spoke-us)

Seeing miracles is one thing but we need the heart to accept what we have received and the ability to hear what we are being taught.

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