Choose Your Mountain by Moe Weiss


The Parashah of Ki Tavo can best be described as a glimpse into the future of Bnei Yisrael. Nowhere else in the Torah portion can any stories be found, nor any Mitzvot which pertain to the post-land of Israel days of Bnei Yisrael. To illustrate this point, the Parashah begins with the words, “VeHaya Ki Tavo El HaAretz” “It will be when you enter the land” (Devarim 26:1). As the journey of Bnei Yisrael is drawing to a close in the Torah and under the leadership of Mosheh, the Torah devotes time to recount the story of Bnei Yisrael, while at the same time proclaiming Mitzvot which apply only in Eretz Yisrael, such as Bikkurim.

After explaining this law of the land, Mosheh warns Bnei Yisrael of their responsibility to stay faithful to the Hashem, and to not deviate from the laws and ordinances which He commands us to follow. Soon afterwards, Mosheh instructs the people of the blessing mountain, Mount Grizim, and the cursing mountain, Mount Eival. Six of the tribes are to stand on one, while six stand on the other. While facing Har Eival, the Leviim are commanded to state 12 sins which make a person cursed. Interestingly enough, the majority of them involve actions between two people, Bein Adam LeChavero. This obviously comes to teach us that in order to be decent human beings, there are basic moral ethics which Hashem requests of us to follow through on, all of which involve the way we interact with each other. Quite simply, no matter how close we feel we are with Hashem, if the way we interact with other people does not reflect this sacred relationship, Hashem will view us as cursed. Only after portraying these basic human ethics can Bnei Yisrael truly fulfill Hashem’s promise to bring us to Eretz Yisrael.

Nowadays, we find ourselves in a similar situation as our ancestors in the Sinai Desert. We can feel Hashem among us, and we are ever so close to entering Eretz Yisrael with the final redemption. However, before such actions can be fulfilled, we must rethink the way we treat other people. Even though the Torah talks of severe violations of Ben Adam LeChaveiro, even minor problems with the way we treat others inhibit our final redemption. It is only after perfecting these core aspects of our life can we pass the final test, and climb upon the Blessed Mountain, Mount Grizim, and enter Eretz Yisrael.

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