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      Judaism: Ki Tavo: Completing the Exodus

      Published: Thursday, August 30, 2007 2:37 AM
      Our Exodus from Egypt cannot be complete.


      The weekly portion of parshat Ki-Tavo opens with the obligation of presenting one’s first fruits to the Temple priest. This first-fruit offering is to be accompanied by a declaration of the kindness the Almighty has bestowed upon us from our earliest history, when he delivered us from the plots of Lavan, the father-in-law of Yaakov, and subsequently from our Egyptian overlords.

      Tractate Pesachim legislates that we use precisely these verses of our parsha as the vehicle for the fulfillment of the Seder eve obligation to recall the story of our miraculous deliverance from the Egyptian oppression. It would certainly seem far more appropriate to go straight to the actual events of the Exodus, as are amply supplied in sefer Shemot, as opposed to the recollection of these events centuries later by the bikkurim-bearing individual.

      Perhaps we may suggest the following. At the Seder table, undoubtedly, great emphasis is placed on the miracle of the Exodus itself. For this task, perhaps, the verses in Shemot would be most appropriate. Yet, our Exodus from Egypt cannot be said to be complete until we are delivered into the Land of Israel. It is only at that juncture that the full transformation from slaves of Pharaoh to servants of G-d can be said to have been complete.

      Only in Eretz Yisrael can the full gamut of mitzvot be performed. The bearer of the bikkurim, when he is in the process of performing a mitzvah that is the product of his toil in the Land of Israel, when he is asked to recall the Exodus, he does so as the complete beneficiary of that Exodus. He is far removed from the self-serving enslavement of Pharaoh.
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      Rabbi Moshe Chaim Sosevsky writes from Jerusalem.

      The foregoing commentary was distributed by the Aloh Naaleh organization.