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Parshat Ki Tavo


"When you enter the land that the Lord your G-d is giving you as a heritage, and you possess it and settle in it, you shall take some of every first fruit of the soil, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your G-d is giving you, put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your G-d will choose to establish His name."

The farmers, bringing the bounty of their beautiful land, would then declare to the priest the words that over time became a foundational text of the Passover Haggadah: ("arami oved avi")

"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 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." Ki Tavo continues with a description of what are essentially arrival ceremonies to be performed on the day when the Israelites finally--humbly, nervously, but triumphantly--enter the Promised Land. "As soon as you have crossed the Jordan...you shall set up large stones. Coat them with plaster and inscribe upon them all the words of this Teaching." An altar was to be built on Mount Ebal of "unhewn stones" on which "you shall sacrifice there offerings of well-being and eat them, rejoicing before the Lord your G-d." The 12 tribes, standing on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal, were to proclaim the curses that would befall the people if they failed to follow G-d's words, and the blessings with which G-d would shower His people if they obeyed Him. "Observe faithfully all the terms of this covenant,'" Moses proclaims to the people. "That you may succeed in all that you undertake!"

Shabbat Mom has the same heartfelt wish for her eldest child, Noa Mintz, who begins the next phase of her life's journey as she leaves NYC for Brown University today. Noa, the world awaits you!

Shabbat Shalom!

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