Welcome to the Land of Israel!

Tomorrow’s ‘Parashah’ (weekly Torah portion) is ‘Ki Tavo’ {כי תבוא} (Hebrew for ‘when you come’). This is the seventh ‘Parashah’ in the Book of Deuteronomy and can be found in Deuteronomy 26:1–29:8.

The name of the weekly Torah portion comes from the first two words of the opening verse:

“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it” (Deuteronomy 26:1)

The Hebrew verb ‘La-Vo’ {לבוא} – which from it our weekly Torah portion’s name is derived (‘Ki Tavo’) – also means ‘to enter’ and ‘to arrive.’ It can be found in the Hebrew well-known expression ‘Beruchim Ha-Ba’im!’ {ברוכים הבאים} which is the Hebrew-Israeli version for the word ‘welcome!’

The ceremony of the first fruits is the first issue of the weekly Torah portion. Let’s have a look at the following verses:

“And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O LORD, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God and worship before the LORD your God. And you shall rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you.” (Deuteronomy 26:10-11)

The Jewish Bible commentators pointed out that the Bible says ‘and you shall rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to’ and the emphasis is on the verb ‘REJOICE’ (‘Ve-Samach’ta’ {ושמחת} in the original Hebrew). This concept teaches us that when a person received a gift from the king, the content or value of the gift does not matter – it is the idea that the king gave you a gift and that is what makes you rejoice!