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September 18, 2016 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Ki Tavo

This week’s Torah portion begins with the bikkurim ritual, in which a farmer brings his first fruits to Jerusalem.  This ritual is part of an elaborate ceremony- so much so that it takes up a full chapter of Deuteronomy (26).

Why so much pagaentry? Arama writes that the more “time has elapsed since Israel has entered the Holy Land, the greater the danger that this fact may be forgotten.  It therefore becomes progressively more important to remind ourselves of this.” In other words, don’t just be thankful for the present, but for the past as well.

I thought of this recently in the context of my father’s life.  While saying Modim, it occurred to me that I was acknowledging not only positive things in my own life, but also the miracle that led me to exist.  My father spent a big chunk of World War II (1943-45) hiding out from the Gestapo in and around Berlin.  He managed to not only survive, but avoid concentration camps.  So just as the Jewish farmers of Temple times thanked God for the long-ago miracle of ancestors escaping Egypt, I suppose I should be equally thankful for the long-ago miracle of ancestors avoiding Auschwitz.

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