Sedra of the Week: Ki Tavo

Sedra of the Week: Ki Tavo

 Rabbi Yonasan Caller looks ahead to this week's portion of the Torah

Throughout life, we all experience joy as well as sadness, satisfaction as well as disappointment.

A Jewish farmer is no different. Each year he experiences the full gamut of emotions since the success of his crops is unpredictable and the weather is not under his control.

In autumn, he prays and hopes for a rainy winter, in early spring, he plants with faith that his crops will prosper, and in the summer, he either celebrates his bountiful and luscious produce or he laments an unsuccessful season, before starting the entire process again!

As discussed at the beginning of the sedra, there was a mitzvah in Temple times to bring to the Temple the bikkurim (first ripe fruits of the seven special species), to hand them to the Priests and to recite a declaration that succinctly recounts the journey of the Jewish People – from being tormented and enslaved in Egypt through to entering the Land of Israel. Having experienced a long winter, toiled vigorously in the fields and prayed and hoped for a successful crop, performing the mitzvah of bikkurim was a joyful, heartfelt outpouring of gratitude to God for the blessing of fruit and the gift of the Land of Israel.

While we are unable to perform this mitzvah nowadays in the absence of the Temple, we can continue to express our gratitude for the infinite blessings in our life – both to God as well as to the many people and organisations who assist and support us in ways that we may never even realise.

  •  Rabbi Yonasan Caller is the educational director of Aish Gesher at Yeshivat Aish HaTorah, Jerusalem
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