Overcoming the peril of existential angst and fear

Joy and thankfulness: The antidote to Amalek.

Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitschak Reuven ,

"Shocked and angry"
"Shocked and angry"

This week’s Torah portion of Ki Tavo, "When you enter," seems to be one of extreme, even diametric contrasts.

It opens with the quintessential experience of unparalleled joy and ebullient thankfulness – the ceremony of bringing the first fruit offering to the Holy Temple.

Yet this very portion also features the "curses" that would befall Israel if they do not hearken to their commitment to observe G-d’s commandments. How do we account for such a vast dichotomy?

In this week’s Jerusalem Lights podcast, we learn that these curses are the product of our own self-induced concealment of Hashem in our lives.

Our choice is between sweet and constant renewal born of appreciation and acknowledgement, or its polar opposite: the ultimate Amalek-like nightmare vision of vulnerability, fear and isolation...to be a prisoner in a world gone mad.

Fortunately – happily – our Torah portion provides the antidote that helps us overcome the peril of existential angst and fear: serving Hashem with joy and appreciation.