Ki Tavo – A thought for the week by Mike Lewis

I found, in my family records, a photograph of my great grandfather standing next to the matzeveh of his own father.  The family had probably come into Lithuania around 1500 CE so this was about 400 years later. (Curiously that was the same period of time that we were in Egypt.) Why did this photograph come to England with my grandparents? What did their parents say to them as they were about to travel to a new land?

The parasha this week starts with the words

כִּֽי־תָב֣וֹא אֶל־הָאָ֔רֶץ
 Ki Tavo el Ha’aretz
When you come into the land

Moses is speaking to the people about the time they will be in the land. My great grandparents must have said something to their own children to guide them and to remind them of who they were and where they came from. It was:

  1. To settle and make a home but also to offer your first fruits to the Jewish community (the temple) and to give to charity (tithes).

  2. To understand the blessings that would be in front of them and the temptations that they would face (The Tochachah; the blessings and the curses which we read this week)

Every year at the Seder, in the traditions of each of our own families, and each in our own way, we recite the words quoted in this weeks Sedra:

My father was a wandering Aramean.

It was to remember our roots. As our grandparents went on their way what they also took with them was what is written at the end of the parasha:

Yet until this day, the Lord has not given you a heart to know, eyes to see and ears to hear.

The future would be that it was with the guidance of parents who gave them a heart to care, eyes to see a way forward and ears to learn, they would prosper.

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