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Parashat Ki Tavo (English)


“And it shall be, when you come to the land that the L-rd your G-d gives to you as an inheritance, and you inherit it and dwell in it”

The Ben Ish Chai in his book Aderet Eliyahu explains it through Remez(hints) in a very interesting manner.

He says, The Land refers to Torah, That Hashem gave to us as an inheritance, meaning that just as the land is inherited from father to son and so on without any pause, the same way, the Torah cannot have any pause. “Then you shall take off the first of all the fruits of the earth” this is your child which you have to designate him to the Torah.

The Torah is the centrepiece of jewish life. Many people try to prioritise living in eretz israel more than learning Torah which is the opposite of truth.

One of the main students of the Chafetz Chaim was Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman. He wrote a book called, “Ikveta Demeshicha” - “The Era of Mashiach” where he explains all the problems and the hypocrisy that will happen right before the coming of messiah and one of the things that he brought there is as follows,

“This total shows that nearly two-thirds of the Talmud deals with Eretz Israel which has an equally important place in the Pentateuch itself. It can thus be readily understood that Eretz Israel is a living necessity for Israel. Besides this, it is a separate precept to dwell in Eretz Israel. In actual fact, however, it is nearly two thousand years that we live outside Eretz Israel. True, it has often been under harsh and bitter conditions, but, in spite of this, we have not perished even without Eretz Israel. The question arises: if we imagine that the Jews had been left without Torah, would they have then survived for two thousand years, or not? It is quite clear that Israel cannot survive even a century without its Torah.”

The Torah is the key that has made our nation survive throughout the ages.

When Hashem met Moshe Rabbeinu through the burning bush, the Torah says “But the bush wasn't burnt” The Midrash Rabbah comes and tells us that this is an analogy referring to the jewish nation. The Jewish nation will go through ages of hardship from the nations of the world, however, just as the fire didn’t burn the bush, so too, Am Israel will not perish.

Rabbeinu Bachya brings an opinion that the colour of the fire was black on white. Chazal tell us that the Torah was written Black fire on white fire. Thus, the fire denotes the fire of Torah and the bush representing Am Israel. So long as Israel burns themselves in the fire of Torah, the nation will live forever.

There are a lot of things that make the Torah so much important to Am Israel, and Im Yirtze Hashem we will try to bring out a few of them.

Our Rosh HaKollel, Rabbi Avichai Chaim Pachima Shlit”a gave an analogy.

Imagine a poor man, Tzaddik, Learns Torah day and night, all that he depends upon is a few hundred shekels that he receives from the kollel. And a few that his wife receives from her small work at the kindergarten. They have 10 kids. And are very much in need of financial help.

Now lets say, a person lives nearby him, rich and well to do. He made up his mind to help this talmid chacham. He took out ten thousand dollars in cash and approached the person.

The rich man said to the talmid chacham that he wishes to give the money as a gift and that Hashem should bless him in all his endeavours.

The Talmid Chacham denied, He gave him a verse saying, "One that hates gifts will live".

The man kept on insisting him to receive the money but to no avail.

Without any other choice he wrapped the money in an envelope and slipped it through the door of the talmid chacham.

Upon seeing the envelope, he counted and found that this was the same amount that the neighbour wished to give him. He went straight to his neighbour and returned him the money.

Finally, he thought of a plan. He got dressed up in black tight fitting clothes with only his face uncovered and broke into the house of the talmid chacham and went directly to the closet where his wife kept all her expensive jewellery. and ran out of the house. people started gathering and caught him shaming him of his misdeed being a rich man himself.

They took him to the Beit Din and the Dayan judged as the Torah tells us to do by fining him double the sum of what he robbed her which was exactly ten thousand dollars.

The rich man got very excited saying that at last although at the cost of gaining a bad name which also would probably ruin the future of his kids and his business itself, he succeeded in giving the money to the talmid chacham.

Now, let us ask ourselves a question. Is this person a man of righteous deed, holy and full of fear of Heaven, ambitious in doing the will of Hashem or is he a thief and nothing but a thief?

If it was not for Daat Torah the answer had been tilted towards the positive as he didnt go to rob the talmid chacham wife for naught. He did it all for the sake of Hashem!

But no, according to the Torah, he is a thief. He did a very big sin and deserves to be punished. Chazal tells us that a mitzvah that came about through a sin is a sin.

Many people run towards "family planning". They think that they are doing themself and the world a favour by killing their own kids. If it was not for the Torah, we would have fallen for it too, however the Torah along with chazal comes to teach us that it is perfectly forbidden unless one has permission from a big scholar.

In the same manner, The Torah tells us again and again that the only reason that he gave us the land of Israel is for the sake of Torah.

During my first days in Israel, I happened to speak to a dayan who happened to be watching over our conversion through the process of dipping in the mikveh.

I asked him to a talk for few minutes. as we were discussing different topics he said a sentence which ordered my brain to be prepared while speaking to these people.

He said thus, "All our Haredi brothers that live outside of Israel and does not want to come to the land are tinok shenishba - a term for children that was left with the gentiles during mass murderers to save them from being killed, one cannot blame them brought l for being irreligious as they don't know even if they are Jewish.

i answered him,"Respected Rabbi, is it not that Rabbi Moshe Feinsten(Who was the biggest halachic authority in america) ruled in is responsa igrot moshe that one is not obligated to come to israel but if one does it is praiseworthy"?

He answered me, "Never heard such a thing"

I spoke to my rav on our way back to the absorption centre and he told me that a lot of people needs speedy health but to his brain because each and every halachic question Even questions of pikuach nefesh to our rabbis, Rav Elyashiv, Rabbi chaim kanievsky etc but when it comes to Israel, suddenly they have never known anything about it.

The Torah is what keeps us alive and thus, we must always have it as an inheritance and not make it fade away from within us.

Shabbat Shalom!

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