Parshat Ki Tavo

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וְלֹא-נָתַן יְהוָה לָכֶם לֵב לָדַעַת, וְעֵינַיִם לִרְאוֹת וְאָזְנַיִם לִשְׁמֹעַ, עַד, הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה.

Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a mind to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.

This line may seem weird given that that, during the forty years the Israelis spent in the desert, they witnessed a number of wonders and miracles. How could they possibly not understand, let alone see and hear?

However it appears that what this means is that they were not fully able to comprehend what had happened to them as a spiritual nation.

Some commentators – among them Rabbi Meir Simcha HaCohen – understand this verse as meaning “even until today”. Indeed it is easy to see how this must apply to us who believe ourselves to be modern and rational individuals.

As we prepare for the Tishri Holidays, we should try and remember that we are about to be called to focus on important issues. What does it mean to live, or die? How will a new Torah cycle impact on our daily lives? A state of mind which requires us to be able to see, hear and understand what God expects from us.

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8 thoughts on “Parshat Ki Tavo

  1. I find it easy comprehend that spirituality is hard to comprehend (does that make sense?). How does one get into a certain state of mind – the details of life can overshadow focus on whatever it is that is really important.

    I was dismayed to read an article in a local Jewish paper called “Preparing for Rosh Hashana” – OK, I wasn’t surprised that it was just about the meals (she actually had a good idea of cooking a meal in the crockpot while one is at the long services), but when she served buttery cake after her meat meal, I was truly depressed by her preparations.

    • I agree that getting in the right spiritual state of mind isn’t easy. I like jewwishes’ idea of buying a book or two to help. Pre-Holidays shiurim can be useful too.
      As for your second remark concerning the buttery cake after the meat meal, it would have made me cringe too.

  2. I agree (and understand!) Leora – it is easy to comprehend that spirituality is hard to comprehend. I know for a fact that it is going to take me a long time to get in the right spiritual frame of mind, and I think it would be arrogant of me to claim that I will ever ‘get there’…

    It won’t stop me trying though!

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