Photo of Rabbi Ettedgui

Parashat Ki Tavo - 5774

My friends,

This Shabbat we read the portion of Ki Tavo. Moses tells the people that when the enter the Promised Land and settle on the land, come harvest time, they should take of the first fruits and bring them as an offering to the Temple. When the farmer brings this gift he/she must also read a declaration, stating that this act is a testimony that G-d's promise to our ancestors has been fulfilled and thank G-d for the land and the fruits. The reading concludes with this commandment:

"And you shall enjoy, together with the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless and the widow, all the bounty bestowed upon you and your household." (Deuteronomy, 26:11)

The farmer shows appreciation to G-d and is commanded to enjoy the fruits of his/her labor. But the true enjoyment comes when one shares the bounty with those in need.

To be appreciative and recognize those who were kind to us is a value called 'Hakarat Tovah' or 'Hakkarat Hatov' - to be appreciative, to remember the goodness in our lives. Why was Aaron and not Moses assigned the task of striking the Nile and turning the water into blood? Because, our sages teach us, the water saved Moses' life when his mother put him in a basket and placed it by the reeds by the shore of the Nile. He will not strike a place that saved his life.

We should always express appreciation for whatever acts of kindness others have done for us.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram