Parashat Ki Tavo
| Published: September 12, 2022
The Israelites are commanded to bring the first of their fruit to the Temple, and to deliver all tithes to their proper recipients. Moses explains how the blessings and curses are to be proclaimed on Mts. Grizzim and Ebal when the Jewish nation enters into Israel. He then details the blessings they will receive for following the commandments of the Torah, and the calamities which will result from disregarding them.
First Aliyah: This section introduces us to the mitzvah of bikurim, the requirement to bring one’s first fruits to the Holy Temple. This mitzvah applies to fruits and produce grown in the land of Israel, and only those for which the land of Israel is praised: wheat, barley, dates, figs, grapes, pomegranates and olives. When in the Temple, the owner of the fruits recites a brief thanksgiving prayer to G‑d and presents the produce to the priests.
Second Aliyah: During Temple times, Jewish farmers were required to separate from their produce several different tithes. These were distributed to the priests, the Levites, the poor, and one tithe which was eaten by its owners in Jerusalem. The different tithes were not all given each year, rather there was a three-year cycle. In this aliyah, the Torah gives the procedure to be followed on the day before Passover during those years which followed the conclusion of a cycle. The farmer was to declare that he has performed all his tithing duties and then beseeches G‑d to bless His people and the Land.
Third Aliyah: Moses admonishes the Jews to observe G‑d’s commandments; reminding them that they have selected Him to be their god, and He, in turn, has chosen them to be His holy and treasured nation.
Fourth Aliyah: The Jews are instructed to gather large stones when they cross the Jordan River. These stones were to be plastered, and the entire Torah was to be engraved upon them. Another set of stones was also to be inscribed with the entire Torah, and be set on Mt. Ebal.
Fifth Aliyah: The Jewish people are instructed to proclaim blessings and curses on Mts. Grizzim and Ebal. The elders of the Levite Tribe together with the Holy Ark stood between the two mountains, and six tribes were stationed atop each mountain. The Levites and priests faced each mountain alternately, and stated the blessing and curses. At the end of the aliyah, we are told of the bountiful blessings which will shower us if we hearken to G‑d’s commandments.
Sixth Aliyah: This section continues with the aforementioned blessings, and then launches a lengthy description of all the maledictions and suffering which will befall the Jews when they neglect the mitzvot.
Seventh Aliyah: Moses reminds the Jews of all the miracles which have been their lot from when G‑d took them out of Egypt until that very day. He concludes by saying that it is therefore incumbent upon them to follow G‑d’s covenant.
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