Points to Ponder

Ki Savo 5776

When you come into the land (26:1) – Sifrei points out that in the merit of keeping this Mitzva, you will merit coming into the land. Yet, the mitzvah did not go into effect for 14 years after they came into the land. Why does the Mitzva not start right away? Rav Shaul Yisraeli ztl. explained that the idea of coming into the land does not refer to the physical entrance into Eretz Yisrael, it refers to the spiritual entrance into the land of Israel – through understanding the spiritual value of the land and that in order to appreciate that uniqueness, you need to inherit and dwell in the land – not just to enter it.


And you will come to the Kohein who will be present in those days and say to him that I declare today to Hashem that I have come to the land (26:3) – The commentaries point out that the Haggada of this section is not in word but rather in action. Ramban clarifies that through the bringing of the fruit, the person demonstrates that he is stating in front of Hashem that he has come. Rav Moshe Mordechai Chodosh ztl. explained that this highlights a fundamental difference between Amira which is always in spoken word and Haggada which does not need to be in word. This explains how a mute individual can testify theoretically (See Gittin 71a) and why there is a difference in the way Beis Yaakov and Bnei Yisrael are addressed at Maamad Har Sinai.

And you shall declare in front of Hashem (26:13) – Rashi reminds us that this section discusses the concept of Vidui Maaser. Why do we refer to it as Vidui? Where is the confession of sin here? Rav Yoel Teitelbaum ztl. of Satmar explained that the declaration that we did the Mitzvos as prescribed and did not forget – that doing Mitzvos is nothing to be haughty about and that when one is, Hashem could theoretically “forget” about the Mitzva.

These will stand on the curses on Har Eival (27:13) – Why are there differences and divisions between blessing and cursed tribes? Rav Belsky ztl. explained that the Shevatim were not dividied on the basis of blessing or curse but rather whether their primary mode of service of Hashem would be through Yirah or Ahava. When a tribe would be on Eival, it was a tribe that would inspire Yiras HaRomeimus and be acutely aware that one who did not appreciate that type of Yirah was indeed, Arur or cursed for losing out on the opportunity to serve Hashem in an inspiring positive manner. The split in the service style guaranteed that the Shevatim would seek one another out in order to learn from one another in the process.

If you don’t listen to the word of Hashem then these curses shall be upon you and shall get you (28: 15) – Why does the Torah inspire Mitzva observance through the process of fear via the punishments if indeed, this is a low level of listening to Hashem? Rav Aharon Kotler ztl. explains that while observing the Mitzvos out of fear is a lower level of observance, it is the building block for all subsequent observances.

These are the words of the covenant aside from the covenant that was established at Chorev (28:69) – Why was there a need for 2 covenants and by extension – 2 Tochachos? Rav Schachter Shlita would often impress upon us the idea that while the first Tochacha spoke to the individual who did not listen to the word of Hashem, the Tochacha of our Parsha speaks to the nation as a whole. The differences include the idea that this Bris would be binding for future generations as well. In addition, there is a concept of Areivus that can apply to this covanent which did not apply to the first one.

You did not eat bread nor drink wine or mead so that you will know that I am Hashem (29:5) –  What is the Chessed of Hashem in that we were not drunk in the Midbar? Why is that called Chessed? Rav Nebenzahl Shlita explains that the lack of need for Alcohol came from the fact that they drank from the Be’er instead and were able to be of a clear mind in order to contemplate and know Hashem.

Haftorah: In its time I shall hasten it (Yeshayahu 60:22) – The Gemara (Sanhedrin 90a) notes the obvious contradiction between being in its right time and being hastened to which it concludes that the timing of the arrival of Moshiach is dependent on us and if we are deserving. Rav Pam ztl. explained that this is part of the synonymous Ba’agala U’Bzman Kariv that even when the Geulah comes, the process itself should come speedily