The Parsha Discussion: Ki Tavo – National Treasure

Posted by Alex Israel on August 28, 2018
Topics: The Parsha Discussion, Devarim (Deuteronomy), Ki Tavo

When a farmer has worked for an entire season and watches the first fruits from his field ripen, what can he do with these fruits that represent an entire year of labor?

The Torah suggests that the fruits be transported to the Temple, and that the farmer enact a special ceremony.

What is this ceremony? And why is it so important for the Torah to detail this?

“you shall take some of every first fruit of the soil, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you,

put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God will choose to establish His name. 

You shall go to the priest in charge at that time and say to him:

“I acknowledge this day before the Lord your God that I have entered the land that the Lord swore to our fathers to assign us.”

The priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down in front of the altar of the Lord your God. You shall then recite as follows before the Lord your God:

“My father was a fugitive Aramean.

He went down to Egypt with meager numbers and sojourned there; but there he became a great and very populous nation. The Egyptians dealt harshly with us and oppressed us; they imposed heavy labor upon us. We cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our plea and saw our plight, our misery, and our oppression. The Lord freed us from Egypt by a mighty hand, by an outstretched arm and awesome power, and by signs and portents. He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 

Wherefore I now bring the first fruits of the soil which You, O Lord, have given me.” (Deut. 26:1-12)

Click here to read more from Rabbi Alex Israel in this week’s Parsha Discussion on Ki Tavo: National Treasure.

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About Alex Israel

Alex teaches Bible at Pardes and is the Director of the Community Education Program and the Summer Program. Alex was born and raised in London. He holds degrees from London School of Economics, the Institute of Education London and Bar-Ilan University. Alex studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion under Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and Rav Yehudah Amital, and gained Rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Rabbinate. Click here to read more. You can find books written by Alex by clicking here

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