Devarim (Deuteronomy) In this final book of Torah, Moses reviews much of the history and the laws given to the Jewish people: hence the Greek name, (taken from phrase 'Mishneh Torah', Deut. 17:18) meaning second telling. In Deuteronomy, the belief that following God's rules will bring blessing; while spurning God will result in calamity is stressed. Idolatry and other false practices are continually denounced. Many scholars identify Deuteronomy with the book of Teaching found by Hilkiah the High Priest (during the reign of King Josiah- II Kings 22:8) during the reforms the king was instituting to strengthen Israel and its religion. There are thirty-four chapters, divided into eleven parashiyot. The parashiyot of Devarim are: Devarim, Va'Etchanan, Ekev, Re'eh, Shoftim, Ki Tetze, Ki Tavo, Nitzavim, VaYelech, Ha'azinu, and Zot HaBrachah

Ki Tavo

Ki Tavo: The people of Israel in partnership with the Divine source of Light, can usher in the light of redemption.

Parashat Ki Tavo opens with the commandment to bring the first fruits to the priests. This ritual includes a verse many will recognize from the Pesach Seder, recalling that 'my ancestor was a wandering Aramean.' This is followed by another ritual for the completion of tithing. Both are a statement of God's dominion over the land.Next we find a dramatic ritual called tochacha - 'admonition' - that is to be performed by the Israelites when they first cross the Jordan and enter into the Promised Land. As a reaffirmation of Israel's acceptance of the covenant with God, they are to inscribe the Torah upon twelve stones, erecting them as a monument on the top of Mount Ebal. And then the tribes were divided, six to ascend to the top of Mount Grizzim, and six to the top of Mount Ebal. The Cohanim and the Levites, along with the Ark of the Covenant, stood in the valley in between. There, they called out a list of curses that would befall anyone who ignored God's commandments and a list of blessings that would benefit those who followed God's way. After each statement, all of the people said, 'Amen'.The parasha concludes with the beginning of Moses's final discourse. He begins by recounting all that God has done for Israel over the past forty years.

Copyright: Kolel, The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning.

These summaries and introductions are used with permission of Kolel: The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning in Toronto, Canada. Kolel is a dynamic, pluralistic, egalitarian institution where men and women engage in Jewish learning which values both traditional and liberal interpretations. Kolel is a gateway into a richer expression of Judaism for each individual, wherever their journey of Jewish discovery may take them.

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