Thursday, August 30, 2018

Dvar Torah & Podcast for Parshas Ki Savo

       This week’s parsha, Parshas Ki Savo, continues Moshe’s farewell address to the Bnei Yisrael. As part of a further acceptance of the Torah, the Bnei Yisrael are told of the advantages and responsibilities of keeping the Torah. To represent this, Moshe splits the nation in half and has each stand on a different mountain. One half stands on Har Grizim and accepts the blessings of the Torah, while the second stands on Har Eival and accepts the curses. The final curse of Har Eival has an interesting word choice which the commentaries examine.
       אָר֗וּר אֲשֶׁ֧ר לֹֽא־יָקִ֛ים אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֥י הַתּוֹרָֽה־הַזֹּ֖את לַֽעֲשׂ֣וֹת אוֹתָ֑ם“Cursed be he who does not uphold the word of this Torah, to fulfill them” (Devarim 27:26). The word in question is “יָקִ֛ים” “uphold”; what is this meant by needing to ‘uphold’ the Torah? It sounds different than simply performing the mitzvos, but why wouldn’t the Torah focus on someone who is not keeping it?  The Ramban gives several different answers to this question, each with a different perspective.
       His first answer is perhaps the most profound. The Torah is not telling you that you will be cursed if you don’t do a mitzvah properly; there is a potential punishment for not doing a mitzvah, but that is not what is being referred to here. Instead, the Torah is focusing on your broader beliefs. Do you believe the Torah is true and from God, do you believe He rewards and punishes based on your actions, do you accept that refusal of either of these is the denial of God? In other words, do you affirm to uphold the Torah; not to perform the individual laws, but in the more basic sense of what the entire Torah represents!    
       As we approach the Yomim Noraim and work on doing Teshuvah, it’s important to keep this idea in mind. It’s not good when we make mistakes, but mistakes will happen and we need to fix them. More importantly, we need to think of our motivation behind our mistakes; are we keeping the bigger picture in perspective. What is our level of emunah? That is the big picture, perhaps even the main idea, we need to work on going into the new year. By reaffirming our belief in Hashem and how He runs the world, we can also help ourselves get rid of those mistakes, and  go back to performing every mitzvah that comes our way promptly and enthusiastically.  

Shabbat Shalom!

Click here for last year's Dvar Torah & Podcast for Parshas Ki Savo

Click here to listen this this week's Podcast (Also available on Apple Podcasts)

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