Weekly Torah Commentary – Ki Tavo September 16, 2011

“It shall be that if you listen to the voice of the Almighty, your God, to observe, to perform all of His commandments that I (Moses) command you this day, then the Almighty, your God, will make you supreme over all nations of the earth. And all of these blessings will come upon you … if you listen to the voice of the Lord, your God:

“You shall be blessed in the city and in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your animals — the calves of your cattle and the flocks of your sheep and your goats. Blessed shall be your fruit basket and your kneading bowl.

“Blessed shall you be when you come in and blessed shall you be when you go out. The Almighty shall cause your enemies who come to attack you to be struck down before you; on one road they will march towards you and on seven roads they will flee from you.

“The Almighty will command to you this blessing on your storehouses and on all of your actions and you will be blessed in the land that the Lord, your God, gives you. The Almighty will establish you to Him as a holy people, as He swore to you — if you will keep the commandments of the Lord, your God, and go in His ways. And then all of the peoples of the earth will see that the name of the Almighty is proclaimed upon you and they will revere you.

“God will give you bountiful goodness, in the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your animals and the fruit of your land — on the land that the Almighty swore to your forefathers to give to you. God will open for you His good storehouse in heaven to provide proper rain at the right time and to bless everything you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow.

“And the Almighty will make you a head and not a tail; and you will be only above and not below — if you will listen to the commandments of the Lord, your God, that I command you this day to guard and to do. And do not stray to the right or to the left from any of the things that I command you this day to go after other gods to worship them.” (Deuteronomy 28:1 -14).

What amazing promises from G-d to us in this week’s Torah portion. We could easily get caught up in the blessings and fail to truly focus on the most important phrase in this entire section: “If you listen…and perform…”

Parents rejoice when their children ‘listen and perform’. Hashem was delighted when the children of Israel said to Moshe, ‘We will do and will will hear.’

The key to enjoying the blessings of Hashem is quite simple: If we listen to Him and do what He asks us to do, His blessings will flow into our lives.

Listening requires focusing our attention on what is being said. A friend of mine was lamenting not long ago about her husband not remembering things she said to him. “Just once,” she moaned, “I wish he would stop what he’s doing for a minute and really listen to me when I talk to him.”

Some years ago there was a song entitled “To Love is to Listen”. The depth of our love for Hashem is measured not in feelings but in listening to His Torah and observing it with all our heart — like a child desirous of pleasing His Father, like a servant desirous of honoring His King, like a spouse who longs to delight the Beloved.

In Tune with Torah this week = choosing to set aside a period of time this Shabbat to reflect on our own ‘listening’ to Hashem over the past year, to repent for our inattention to His voice and resolve in the new year about to begin, to listen to Him with deepened fervor and commitment.

Shabbat Shalom

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