Kee Tavo 5780-2020

“There are Stones with Human Hearts”
(updated and revised from Kee Tavo 5761-2001)

In parashat Kee Tavo, Moses transmits to the Jewish people some of the specific laws and rituals that apply once the people enter the land of Israel. He instructs the elders that, on the day they cross the Jordan to enter into Israel, the people must set up 12 great stones, cover them with plaster and write upon them all the words of this law. Tradition thus explicitly teaches us that Jewish memorials must incorporate Torah. The most appropriate memorials are houses of study and yeshivot that nurture a new generation of Jews. Only in this manner, will our enemies never be able to defeat us.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Nitzavim-Rosh Hashana 5779-2018

“Whatever Became of Sin?”

Parashat Nitzavim has been called “one of the greatest expositions on repentance in the Torah.” How appropriate it is to read these deeply inspiring words during the High Holy Day season.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Kee Tavo 5772-2012

“Persecution’s ‘Silver Lining’”

In G-d’s reproof of the Jewish people, He declares that even in exile the people will not find rest for the soles of their feet. Can persecution actually prove to be a blessing in disguise?

Read More


0 Comments11 Minutes

Kee Tavo 5771-2011

“The Challenge of Bountifulness”

Before threatening the people of Israel with the dire consequences of sin, G-d always blesses them with blessings that will accrue to the nation for faithfully fulfilling His commandments. Is the blessing of abundance truly a blessing, or is intended to be a challenge?

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Kee Tavo 5770-2010

“Secret Transgressions”

How does a Jew become not only an “observant” Jew, but a Jew who observes with integrity? The twelve opening admonitions of the Tochacha hope to set the Jewish people on the right track.

Read More


0 Comments10 Minutes

Kee Tavo 5768-2008

"Redeeming Captives"

One of the truly haunting verses of the Torah that we encounter in Parashat Kee Tavo is the prediction that our sons and daughters will not be ours, for they will be led into captivity. The mitzvah of "Pidyon Sh'vuyim," redemption of captives, is one of the highest mitzvot in the hierarchy of biblical commandments. Redeeming our contemporary "captives" must be the call of the hour.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Kee Tavo 5767-2007

"Can the Promise of G-d Keep the People Holy?"

Before delivering the admonition, Moses conveys the blessings of G-d to the Jewish people, including the blessing that G-d will establish His people to be a holy nation to Him. The Haamek Davar sees these words as G-d's promise to protect those who are faithful to Him, even though they may be involved in mundane communal affairs. Is this blessing a foolproof guarantee?

Read More


0 Comments10 Minutes

Kee Tavo 5764-2004

"The Centrality of Joy in Jewish Observance"

Parashat Kee Tavo is one of the two parashiot in the Torah that features the terrifying prophecies known as the "Tochacha"--G-d's reproof of the Jewish people for not following His Torah. The Tochacha predicts that the Jewish people will bear sons and daughters who will not be theirs. It warns that these children will go into captivity because, "You failed to serve the Lord, your G-d, amid gladness of heart, when everything was abundant." More than anything else, what is needed in Jewish life today to help stem the horrific losses from assimilation is the transferal of the inherent joy in Judaism and an emphasis on how the very process of seeking G-d is a source of great pleasure.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Kee Tavo 5763-2003

"Watch Out for Laban, He is More Dangerous Than Pharaoh"

As part of the Bikkurim declaration, the celebrants stated that "An Aramean tried to destroy my father." The Torah thus sees the Aramean, Laban, as more dangerous than Pharaoh. The fact that Pharaoh wants to do us in is well known, so we can protect ourselves. Our brother Laban, however, the wily Aramean, is always out there waiting for us, feigning love, conspiring to defeat us. We need always be on watch for him.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Kee Tavo 5762-2002

"A Contemporary Interpretation of an Ancient Reproof"

As we read the "Tochacha," the reproof of the people of Israel for their sins in parashat Kee Tavo, it is impossible not to see the evils of contemporary society predicted and fulfilled. G-d begs us to choose life. If we indeed choose life, the tragic predictions of the Torah should never occur. In fact, we can forestall almost all evil by properly educating ourselves and our children to conduct our lives properly, fulfilling our responsibilities to others and to the environment with genuine loving kindness.

Read More


0 Comments16 Minutes

Kee Tavo 5761-2001

"There are Stones with Human Hearts"

In parashat Kee Tavo, Moses transmits to the Jewish people some of the specific laws and rituals that apply once the people enter the land of Israel. He instructs the elders that, on the day they cross the Jordan to enter into Israel, the people must set up 12 great stones, cover them with plaster and write upon them all the words of this law. Tradition thus explicitly teaches us that Jewish memorials must incorporate Torah. Houses of study and yeshivot that train a new generation of Jews are thus the most appropriate memorials. Only in this manner will our enemies never be able to defeat us.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes