Torah Portion: Ki Tavo (When You Come) D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 26-29
HafTorah: Isaiah 60:1-22
Today we read the Torah portion, “When You Come.” It begins with Moshe speaking of when they come into the Land of Promise, their inheritance. I would like us to begin by looking at this first verse for a moment and see if it might apply to us. I want to look especially at the verbs following inheritance, possess it and live in it.
In our life what is our inheritance? As adopted sons and daughters of the King we have inherited or been adopted into the Kingdom of G-d. We, as the children of G-d, have the responsibility to possess our inheritance. How do we possess it? First, we have to realize it is ours. Without a clear grasp of the fact that we are the children of G-d we will never be able to possess our inheritance. We possess it by working to build up the Kingdom. We go about our Father’s business bringing Him into the world we live in, reaching out to a deeply broken world, finding the spark of good in everyone and nurturing that spark into a flame.
We live in our inheritance by being faithful to the Word of our Father and being different from the world. We are not to be ruled by our base desires but follow and renew our lives according to what He has for us. Are we living a crippled life because we are unaware of what G-d has done for us? He has given us everything we need to live our life as He intended, a victorious life. I believe we are called to live our life not as a defeated person but as one whose Father is a King. Our physical situation does not change this. It is about our spiritual riches.
When we read of the First Fruits offering in Deut. 26:1-11 we see that one thing that shows when we are living in our inheritance is when we thank G-d for what He has done for us. We are to thank Him with what? We are to thank Him with the very best of what we have in our life. We are to thank Him first, not with the leftovers of our time, our energy or our resources. This is what First Fruits is all about. It is about establishing priorities in our lives. In the grind of everyday life it reminds us to give first place to Him who made us. It also carries over into our personal lives and our relationship with people. It involves spending quality time with spouses, children and friends who might need help. Sometimes we become so wrapped up in making a living we forget to live, to pray and be with G-d.
I believe if we can set our priorities in order then other more mundane things will find their place and our lives will be richer and fuller, allowing us to live in our inheritance. There is a prayer in Judaism that is a good example of setting our lives in order and leading with the most important things of life first. This prayer is said before you get out of bed, when you first open your eyes. It is a way of thanking G-d for the small things, food, clothes, air to breath, and even the ability to get up in the morning. So it establishes from the very first moment of our day our gratitude and love for G-d. It sets the tone for the day and can be compared to the First Fruits offering. Time with the Father is more important than any thing else that might come along.
Also, this offering was to be done “at the place where G-d shall choose to place His name.” Physically this place was Jerusalem but you might say that wherever He has put us is that place of offering also, since we are there. Remember, wherever we are, G-d has allowed it for a purpose. The purpose is to grow us into what our Father desires of us and for us. We have the opportunity to bring the light of G-d where we are and that is where His Name is to be placed.