Photo of Rabbi Ettedgui

Parashat Ki Tavo - 5773

My friends,

We are coming almost to the end of the Book of Devarim, Moses' words to the Israelites before his death and before they enter the Promised Land. This week's portion is the seventh of the eleven portions in the Book of Devarim.

It begins with the words "Ki Tavo el Ha-aretz" - "when you shall enter the land." Moses commands the Israelites that upon entering the promised land, once you possess it and settle in it, you shall take of the first fruits of the soil which you harvest from the land, put them in a basket, and go to the place which your G-d will choose to establish His name there. You go to the priest of that time and you declare that G-d's promise has been fulfilled as evidenced by the fruits which you are presenting, as a gift of thanksgiving. You place the basket before the L-rd and you bow before the L-rd your G-d. This ritual ends with these words:

"You shall rejoice for all the good that the L-rd your G-d has given you and your family, and enjoy it with the Levite, and the stranger in your midst."

"VESAMACHTA BEKHOL HATOV" - "Rejoice for all the good (bounty)." This is an interesting commandment - Be happy! Enjoy what you have - possessions, health, family, friends, peace, your ability to help others. There are so many things that we should be thankful for, and that we are commanded to enjoy and rejoice that we have them. "VESAMACHTA" - Rejoice! - is in the singular, as if to say, "Don't compare yourself to others, be happy with YOUR TOV, your bounty, whatever it may be, large or small."

It is Shabbat - a time to think of all the things with which we can fulfill this Mitzvah of "VESAMACHTA BEKHOL HATOV" - "Rejoice with all the good that G-d has given you."

Therefore, Rejoice! Be Happy! Enjoy!

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram