This was a d’var Torah I gave 5 years ago on the upcoming Torah portion, Ki Tavo, which corresponds to Deuteronomy 26:1 – 29:8.
This week in the Torah, Moses gathers the Israelites together to give them instructions for a major group ritual they are to do after he has died and they have crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land. The ritual is intended to re-affirm the covenant between God and Israel. Moses tells the people to divide the various Israelite tribes into two groups. One group will go to the top of Mount Gerizim, and the other to the neighboring Mount Eval. These two mountains are in the West Bank, and the city of Nablus sits in the valley between them.
Anyway, once the tribes would reach the summits of the two mountains, Moses says that the priests and Levites will gather in the valley in between them. Then, the Levites will proclaim a series of curses that will happen to anyone who breaks God’s commandments, followed by a series of blessings that will happen to anyone who keeps God’s commandments. After the recitation of each blessing or curse, all of the people are to proclaim the word “amen,” indicating their acceptance of the covenant. The Hebrew words for blessing and curse are beracha and k’lalla.
Here are some examples: Cursed be the person who makes an idol to worship in secret; cursed be the person who perverts the justice due to the stranger, the orphan, and the widow; cursed be the person who secretly murders their neighbor; cursed be the person who takes a bribe to slay an innocent person.
And on the blessings side of things: it shall come to pass that if you listen diligently to God and observe God’s commandments, then blessed shall you be in the city and in the fields; blessed shall you be in your comings and goings; blessed and fruitful will be your offspring, livestock and crops, and all the nations of the world will see that you’ve been blessed. Continue reading “D’var Torah: Ki Tavo – כי תבוא”