Parashat Ki-Tavo!

Dear Friends;

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parasha summary
followed by a Dvar Torah;

” Parsha in a Nutshell ”

Moshe instructs the people of Israel: When you enter the
land that G-d is giving to you as your eternal heritage, and you settle it and
cultivate it, bring the first-ripened fruits of your orchard to the Holy Temple,
and declare your gratitude for all that G-d has done for you.

Our Parsha also includes the laws of the tithes given to the Levites and to the poor. Moshe
reminds the people that they are G-d’s chosen people, and that they, in turn,
have chosen G-d.

The latter part of Ki Tavo consists of the Tochachah
(“Rebuke”). After listing the blessings with which G-d will reward the people
when they follow the laws of the Torah, Moses gives a long, harsh account of the
bad things — illness, famine, poverty and exile — that shall befall them if
they abandon G-d’s commandments.

Moses concludes by telling the people
that only today, forty years after their birth as a people, have they attained
“a heart to know, eyes to see, and ears to hear.”

” Dvar Torah ”

In the second half of this week’s Parsha, Moshe uses only fourteen verses to describe the rewards and blessings which G-d will shower upon the Jews when they will keep His commandments. After reading the brief, yet sufficient, praises and rewards for being obedience, Moshe warns them about the consequences of disobeying Hashem’s commandments. Fifty-five consecutive verses to be exact, of describing the chilling suffering, misery and torture, that will be fallen upon the Jewish nation, if they don’t listen to the voice of G-d. The Torah speaks of destruction, famine, war, illness and exile.
Many of the calamities are so appalling that they are too difficult to
comprehend to. Indeed, the Chazan in the Shul, is expected to read these verses
quickly and in a quieter voice than usual, to avoid depressing the congregation
on Shabbat.

But in the midst of all these rebukes, Moshe tells them the
actual reason for all these punishments. He says: ” Because you did not serve
Hashem, your G-d, with joy and goodness of heart, when you had

Don’t you think that the way Moshe describes the reason for
the punishments seems a little peculiar?! It seems, from this pasuk, that the
reason for all these calamities is not being disobedient, but rather, it’s the
lack of joy in performing G-d’s commandments that can be dreadful.

But you may ask yourself, why is Hashem so concern about the feelings of our heart?
Why does he care if we are happy or not when we perform his commandments? Why
does it matter if we put on Teffilin with a frown on our faces? What’s the big
deal to feel depressed when going to Kanissa on Shabath? So, why is it so
essential to be “happy” when performing the mitzvot, that Hashem is willing to
destroy us, if we show the lack of it?? I’m sorry, but It’s too hard for me to
accept that all the miseries described in this week’s parsha is due to lack of
joy and not because of being disobedient!! So, how do you explain Moshe’s

Well, one of the explanations that I read is as follows:
Hashem is only going to bring all these miseries upon us if, G-d forbid, we
don’t keep the commandments! But Moshe is trying to tell us that the reason we
don’t keep the commandments, is because we didn’t enjoy them in the first place!
You see, you can do a certain task, once, twice, three times,….ten times and
so on. But if you don’t enjoy it, you’ll start doing it less and less until
you’ll eventually end up not doing it at all. Same goes with the mitzvot. If you
don’t enjoy and feel the happiness when you do a mitzvah, then you will start
doing it less an less until, G-d forbid, you will not do it at all! And this is
what Moshe means by “Because you did not serve Hashem with joy and goodness of
heart….”. Because if they would have felt the “joy” when they performed the
commandments, they would have never stopped doing them!!!

But you may ask yourself, how can we achieve this level of happiness that Hashem requires from us?? What if we simply don’t enjoy putting on tefillin everyday or go to Kanissa every Shabath?? How can we find the joy in the mitzvot that are not exciting to

Well, “Happiness” is a state of mind achieved when you benefit from
doing or receiving something. For example, when you buy a new car, you are
happy, because you can benefit from driving the new car. When you go out with
your friends, you are happy, because it relaxes your mind and your mind benefits
from it. The Chachamim use the same logic to explain why we should be happy when
performing the mitzvot. We should know that all the mitzvot that we do are for
our own benefit!! Hashem does not benefit whatsoever from us performing his
commandments! We are the only beneficiaries! By keeping the commandments, we
will be blessed with good health, we will be blessed with prosperity, we will be
blessed with happiness, we will be blessed with healthy children and many many
more blessings. If we truly believe in that, then to feel happy when performing
the mitzvot should not be so difficult!

Yes my friends, try to find the joy in every mitzva that you do, because if you don’t enjoy them, G-d forbid, you’ll stop doing them altogether. Doing the mitzvot of the Torah should not be a burden upon us, but rather, it should be a delight! Because for every mitzvah
that you do Hashem is going to bless you even more.

As we are approaching the High Holidays and we need to come to Kanissa more often, let us find the joy in coming to Kanissa. “Beit-Kenesset” is not just a praying Hall,
it is a “Gathering Hall”. It’s a place of worship and a place to socialize too.
Did you know that socializing is a mitzvah? Because when you socialize with your
friend and you ask him about his welfare and his family, it means that you care
about him, and Hashem likes that. So, Kanissa is a place to pray, to talk, to
laugh, but all at the right times. There are times that we have to pray, there
are times that we need to be quiet and listen to the Torah, and there are times
that we can talk and mingle among friends. Keeping in mind that Sanctuary is a
holy place and we have to be respectful towards the Almighty and

So my friends, try to find the joy in every mitzvah that you do.
Show your enthusiasm when serving Hashem and teach it to your children too. We
have a beautiful religion where we have to live in total harmony with G-d and
other human beings. And the thing which keeps us all together is our holy Torah.
Let us cherish it and keep its commandments with joy!

Shabbat Shalom
& Regards;