Sedra of the Week: Ki Tavo

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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
Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

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