Ki Tavo: When Are You Coming?

Aliya is something to consider without too many calculations.

Rabbi S. Weiss,

Rabbi S Weiss.JPG
Rabbi S Weiss.JPG
Arutz 7

Sandwiched around the Blessings & Curses in the center of this week's parsha is a walk through Jewish history. The Torah bids us to "take stock" & to remember how it is we got to where we are, recalling the trials & tribulations we encountered along the way, from Lavan to Egypt.

The end of Ki Tavo mentions the many miracles which G-d performed for us in the wilderness, & then makes a
specific, pointed reference to the war against Og king of Bashan & Sichon, king of Cheshbon.

Now, I can understand why we mention Mitzrayim & Paro & the desert experience. But why emphasize the fight
against Bashan & Cheshbon? Were they so important? Rav Kook enlightens us. Bashan & Cheshbon were the
last barriers that stood in our way before the conquest of Canaan; once they were vanquished, we were able to
enter the Land & make it our own.Says Rav Kook: In order to come into Israel, we had to battle against not just Chesbon, but our Cheshbonot (calculations)!Because a person can always come up with an excuse, a rationalization, a reason not to fulfill any Mitzva. Kashrut?

Outdated, illogical. Shabbat? Inconvenient & financially detrimental. Fasting 7 times a year? Distasteful! And
living in Israel? Well, we have oodles of excuses to steer us away from that particular Mitzva, though it is considered by Chazal to be equal to all the others in the Torah.On a recent trip abroad, I spoke (as always) about the Aliya imperative.Many people used the issue of parnasa to explain their non-compliance. So I "gently" countered that a Jew of faith believes that Hashem, & only Hashem, determines the level of sustenance & prosperity meted out to humanity. It is not in our hands at all.

And so the next argument was Family: "How can I leave all my loved ones behind?" "This is indeed a valid consideration," I replied, "but tell me something: If a large company in Singapore, Shanghai or Sydney offered you $1 million dollars a year to relocate there for a decade, would you turn it down? Would you refuse to leave your family? Or would you pick up & go, leaving your family behind; or at the very least give it serious consideration?"

Warns Rav Kook: Where Mitzvot are concerned, don't make so many cheshbonos, just do it! If G-d commanded
it, it must be necessary, it must be possible, it must be rewarding.

As for Bashan, don't be a "byshan," don't be embarrassed to stand against the crowd & proclaim: "I love the Mitzvot, I love Israel, I believe in G-d."





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