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Moses appointed twelve emissaries to scout out the Holy Land and return with a report. The representative for the tribe of Ephraim was Moses’ primary disciple, Joshua. Until this time, the lad’s name was Oshua. But Moses added a letter to his name and called him Joshua.
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Home » Ki Tavo

Ki Tavo- Food for Thought at Your Dinner Table

Submitted by on September 14, 2008 – 5:38 amNo Comment | 2,910 views

Sunday: Humbling Fruit

“When you will come to the country that G-d . . . has given you and you will inherit it and settle in it.” Is Israel a gift from G-d or a land that we have inherited and settled in our own right? This question lies at the heart of Bikurim, our Mitzvah to offer the first ripened fruit of the season to G-d.

So long as we recall that the land is  G-d’s gift we remain humble and attuned to His will. The moment we forget and view Israel as our entitlement we become susceptible to arrogance and disloyalty. We are instructed to offer the first fruit of the season to G-d to remind us that the land and its bounty is a gift for which we must be continuously grateful. Kli Yakar based on Rambam

Monday: Miraculous Produce

Israel is a miraculous land; flowing with milk and honey. Our sages taught that in Israel milk flowed from the goat and honey from the date unprompted by human hand. Our ancestors were not so lucky with regard to bread. They did have to till the soil and harvest its bounty to enjoy its blessings, but when the Moshiach comes the earth will produce bread as the goats did milk in Israel of old.

After the offering of the fruit our ancestors prayed, “Gaze down from your sacred abode in the heavens upon your nation, Israel, and bless the earth that you gave us . . .  a land that flows with milk and honey.” This was in essence a prayer for the messianic era when the earth will yield its produce as effortlessly as the land provided its honey and the goats their milk. Ksav Sofer

Tuesday: Three Rewards

Had our ancestors not worshipped the golden calf we would have been spared the great suffering we have endured through history. Specifically our sages taught that we would have been free of the yoke of nations, we would have become the strongest nation on earth and would have enjoyed eternal life.

This is why Moshe promised that G-d would make us, “a treasured people. . . supreme over all the nations . . . holy unto G-d.” Toras Moshe – Malbim

Wednesday: The Torah

G-d instructed our ancestors to inscribe the words of the Torah onto twelve large stones “so that you may enter the land that G-d your Lord gives you.”

This was intended to remind us that we were given the land as a reward for studying the Torah. Our military strength cannot hold the land, but our allegiance to Torah can. This is why the second blessing of the Grace recited after meals, which expresses our gratitude to G-d for the land, includes a word of gratitude for the Torah. Rabbeinu Bachye and Ramban

Thursday: Children and Wealth

The Torah promises reward for allegiance to G-d. The order in which the blessings are offered are instructive. First the Torah promises that we will have healthy children and then it adds a blessing for prosperity. It is no surprise that the blessing for children precedes the blessing for prosperity, after all children are much more important and deserve to be mentioned first. In addition to the obvious, there is another insight to be gleaned.

The Torah agrees that an upstanding person deserves to prosper, but raising well balanced children in obscenely wealthy homes is very difficult. Prosperity that sours our children and robs them of appreciation for the true blessings in life can be a curse. This is why the Torah offers the blessing for prosperity after the blessing for children because prosperity is best enjoyed when the children have matured enough to appreciate it. Chassam Sofer

Friday: Blessings Concealed

The Torah promises punishment to those who turn from G-d, but our sages assured us that curses in the Torah conceal profound blessings. Let us use the following verse as an example. “Your life will hang before you and you will be frightened night and day and you will not be confident of life.” On the surface this verse sounds like a horrible punishment, but beneath the surface there is great blessing.

“Your life will hang before you,” Life can be translated as a euphemism for G-d, the source of life. A Jew must always be mindful of G-d, as the Psalmist says,“I place my G-d before me always.”  Once we establish that the verse speaks of G-d it is natural to suggest that the second part of the verse, “You will be frightened day and night,” refers to fear of G-d. It is indeed a mitzvah to fear G-d at all times. Finally the concluding portion of the verse, “You will not be confident of life” refers to the Talmudic dictum, “treat every day as if it were your last,” which ensures that we are always on our best behaviour. Peninim Yekarim

Shabbat: Forty Years

Teachers do not convey their full depth of understanding to raw, undeveloped students. Yet, though the teacher offers a diluted version of the material, he or she embeds markers in the presentation that allow the students to dig deeper. Our sages taught that it takes forty years for the student to fully appreciate the breadth and depth of the teacher’s wisdom. This is not only because it can take that long to decipher the code and discover the embedded material, but also because it takes that long for the student to gain the maturity necessary to perceive the subject matter from the teacher’s perspective.

It is this emotional maturity that Moshe speaks of when he underscores the ability of his generation to finally understand the miracles that they had witnessed forty years earlier during the exodus from Egypt. Sefer Hamamarim 5657