Parashat Ki Tavo – A True Blessing
22 September 2016 Parasha
בָּר֥וּךְ אַתָּ֖ה בָּעִ֑יר וּבָר֥וּךְ אַתָּ֖ה בַּשָּׂדֶֽה Blessed are you in your coming and blessed are you in your going [28,6]
The Torah tells us that if we listen to Hashem and follow all the mitzvot then we will be blessed with many blessings. One blessing is that you will be blessed in your comings and goings (simply, meaning whenever you travel). Rashi explains this to mean that you will be blessed that the way you leave this world (pass away) should be without sin, the same way that you entered this world.
If we think about this Rashi, we might have the following question. Hashem promises us all of these blessings if we follow His Torah- which includes not sinning. Therefore, why is there a special blessing of not sinning? Why is it that this is itself considered a blessing, instead of the source of the other blessings?
Perhaps the answer is as follows. If a person puts in all his effort to keep the Torah, then he will receive all the blessings. However, it is nonetheless inevitable that a person will stumble and sin. Once a person gives his all, he is given the blessing of Hashem helping him to not sin (or to do complete teshuva on his sins, which is extraordinarily difficult). It is for this reason that it is considered to be a blessing and and of itself, and not the source of the blessings.
In our daily lives, there are times when we try to grow spiritually without involving Hashem. “If I abstain from eating, then I will become holier,” “All I need to do is guard my tongue.” However, if we were to realize that in order to succeed spiritually, we need Hashem to help us, we would cry out to Him for help. May Hashem help us to maximize our potential and totally overcome our yetzer hara.
Why do we mention the story of Lavan and the exile of Mitzrayim during the time that we bring bikurim? In a person's times of success, he must remember the times when he was lowly. This way he will see the chesed of Hashem is with him and he will thank Hashem. -Rabbeinu Bachya
There are those that claim that the nations hate Klal Yisrael because Klal Yisrael are separated from the rest of the nations. Therefore, the Torah comes and tells us “Arami oved avi.” Lavan, despite being Yaakov's father-in-law and uncle, and despite Yaakov’s years of faithful work, still hated Yaakov. -Baal Shel Umeshiv
“And you will be happy with all the good.” This pasuk is hinting to the Torah, with a similar meaning to the saying of Chazal, “there is no good except Torah.” If people would feel the sweetness of Torah they would go crazy to run after it, and the entire world of silver and gold wouldn't be worth anything in their eyes, because the Torah includes all the good in the world.” - Ohr Hachaim
A rock doesn't require sustenance, nor does it grow. This is why the Torah commands to make an altar from stone and that no plants should be allowed to grow from it. This is in order for us to nderstand that just like stones don't need food and water, Hashem doesn't need our korbanot. Rather, korbanot are for Yisrael to bring down shefa from heaven. - Meshech Chochma
Why are Klal Yisrael commanded to be happy and bring the kobanot on Har Eival on which the curses were given? It would have been fitting to do so on Har Grizim where the blessings were given. From here we learn, “everything that Hashem does is for good.” By bringing korbanot and being happy on Har Eival, Klal Yisrael express their awareness that even the curses of the Torah are for our good and are a reason to rejoice. - Rabbi Moshe Feinstein
Conceptual Textable Dvar Torah
Just like the lack of happiness in serving Hashem caused the exile, serving Him happily despite difficulties will bring redemption. Sfat Emet. Shabbat Shalom!
There was a man who had bli ayin hara, thirteen children. Money was very tight, yet he always made sure to pay the tuition for the entire year in the beginning of the year. When he was enrolling one of his children for high school, he went to the principal's office to discuss the tuition. He told the principal, “I'll be honest with you. Whatever you ask me to pay, I will. However, I have thirteen children and we live a very simple lifestyle.” They discussed it further and a price was given. The man gave the principal his credit card and insisted upon paying the entire sum immediately. The principal was hesitant to take the money since he knew that money was tight for this man. The man explained: there was an elderly woman who survived Auschwitz. She merited to raise a beautiful family who were yirei shamayim. When asked what her secret was, she recalled that she and her husband were placed on two different lines at the selection. They knew that only one would live. Her husband made her promise that she would be extremely careful to pay the children's tuition. After the war, she worked non-stop in order to fulfill this promise. The man begged the principal, “Please, take the money. I also want my children to be yirei shamayim.”
By Aharon Lazari