Torah Portion: Ekev (Because)D’Varim(Deut.) 7:12-11:25
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 49:14-51:3
Today I want us to look at Deut. 11:7. This verse reads, “Because your eyes are the ones seeing all the great works of the L-rd that He has done.” In the first nine verses of chapter 11 Moshe was speaking directly to the current generation of the children of Israel. They were the ones about to cross over the Jordan to enter the land of Israel. Earlier he had stressed to the people how important it was that they follow G-d’s word, His commandments as they crossed the Jordan.
Torah Portion: Ki Tavo (When You Come) (Deut.) 26:1-29:8
HafTorah: Isaiah 60:1-22
NT Matt. 13:1-23; Luke 21:1-4; Acts 28:17-31; Romans 11:1-15
Today before we go on to Ki Tavo I would like to go back to last week’s Torah section to cover something I overlooked. In D’Varim (Deut.) 23 we read you should not abhor or hate an Edomite. You should not abhor an Egyptian. Now think for a minute about this verse. What had the Egyptians done to Israel? Read Shemot (Exodus) 1:22. Yet here we see Moses speaking as if this had never happened, almost saying Israel owed them a debt of gratitude. On the other hand they were to recite the story of Exodus each year commemorated with bitter herbs and unleavened bread so their children would never forget. What is Moses talking about here? To be free you have to let go of hate. If not, Moses might take them out of Egypt but would not be able to take Egypt out of them. Mentally and emotionally they would still be slaves, still in chains – chains of their mind and emotions. We must live with the past but not in the past. If we let our past define who we are we are not truly free of it. Moses tells the people over and over to remember the past not for revenge but so that they would remember to not treat others the way they were treated. They should give to the poor, leave some of their crops in the field to share with others and share their lives with others. Our memory of the past is not to preserve hate but to conquer it and to recall how it felt to be a victim. Remember: not to live in the past but to prevent a repetition of it.
Torah Portion: Ki Tavo (When You Come) Deut. 26:1-29:8
HafTorah: Isaiah 60:1-22
In the days of the Temple farmers were to set aside the first of the seven things mentioned in Torah in Deut. 8:8. How did they do this? The farmer went out into the fields at the first sign of blossoms or heads of grain and marked them with a ribbon on the stems. When they reached maturity he would harvest them and take them to the Temple in Jerusalem during Shavuot. He would give them to the priest and recite the words of Deut 26:5-11. What was the purpose of this ritual to the farmer? It kept it in his mind and spirit that all things come from the Father, and gave him an opportunity to show his gratitude for G-d’s provisions.