Parashat Ki Tavo (when you come in)

The Parasha this week is Ki-Tavo Deuteronomy 26:1-29:9. The numbering in the Masoretic text varies slightly so the end is 29:8

First fruits

When our ancestors were to come into the land, they were to collect the first fruits of their harvest and place them in a basket and take them to the priest in the sanctuary. They were to recite a prayer that recognized that when Jacob went down to Egypt, they were very few in number, but they became a great nation. Then the Egyptians treated them badly and enslaved our ancestors, but God delivered them and brought us to this land. The basket of first fruits was to acknowledge what God had done


In the third year after sowing a tithe of the harvest is to be distributed among the poor, the fatherless, the widow and the Levite.  Then they can say to God that they have fulfilled the duty of care for the Levites the fatherless and the widow.

The Altar on Mount Ebal

The people were to take some stones and cover them with plaster and engrave on them God’s commandments. Then when they crossed over the Jordan, they were to set up the stones into an alter where they were to offer fellowship offerings to God and rejoice before Him.

Blessings and Curses

The people of the tribes of Simeon, Levi, Judah, Benjamin, Joseph and Issachar were to stand on Mount Gerizim to proclaim blessings for obedience.

The people of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulon, Dan and Naphtali were to stand on Mount Ebal and proclaim curses for disobedience.

The Levites were to proclaim the curses and the people would all respond with a loud ‘Amen

Cursed is anyone who makes an idol

Cursed is anyone who dishonours father or mother

Cursed in anyone who removes a boundary stone

Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the stranger, fatherless or widow.

Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his father’s wife

Cursed is anyone who has sexual relations with an animal

Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his sister

Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his mother-in-law

Cursed is anyone who secretly kills his neighbour

Cursed is anyone who accepts a bribe to kill and innocent person

Cursed is anyone who does not carry out any of these laws.

Blessings for Obedience

You will be blessed in the city and the country

Your children, crops and livestock will be blessed

Your bread will be blessed

You will be blessed coming in and going out

Your enemies will be defeated

Your crops will be bountiful

You will be established as God’s holy people

Your store houses will overflow

Curses for disobedience

The curses for disobedience are the direct opposite of the above

Cursed in the city and in the countryside

Your bread will be cursed

Children, crops and livestock will be cursed

You will be cursed coming in and going out

The LORD will send confusion disease and failure until you are destroyed

Your enemies will defeat you and you will be unsuccessful in all you put your hands to.

You will be engaged to a woman, but another will take her. You will plant a vineyard but not enjoy its fruit. Your children will be taken away from you You will be full of disease

You will be taken away captive and become an object of ridicule.

Locusts will eat your crops and you will be slowly destroyed

All because you did not obey and worship the LORD joyfully in times of prosperity

A far-off nation will lay siege against you

Because of hunger you will eat your own children

God will inflict you with disease and send you back to Egypt. You will put yourselves up for sale as slaves but no one will buy you.

That was the deal. Moses summoned all the people and reminded them of all that God did to Pharoah in Egypt and how they were led for forty years in the wilderness. Their clothes or shoes did not wear out

At the place they were now standing, on the east of the Jordan River, they had defeated Sihon and Og Kings of the Amorites and given their land to the tribes of Reuben Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh

Haftarat Ki Tavo                      הפטרת כי-תבוא

The Haftarah reading associated with Ki Tavo is the sixth of the seven Haftaroth of consolation between Tisha B’Av and Rosh Hashanah and is Isaiah 60:1-60:22

It predicts a time of great blessing when Israel will become a light in a dark world and people from all over the world will be drawn to that light. Foreigners will build up the fallen walls and the children of those who oppressed us will bow to us and call us the city of God.

Although you have been forsaken and hated,
    with no one travelling through,
I will make you the everlasting pride
    and the joy of all generations.  (Isaiah 60:15)

Messianic Message

As Israel went through struggles and afflictions God always sent prophets to remind them of the glorious future that awaited them. The word of the prophets always gave hope and encouragement in dark times. As with the nation so with the individual believer we pass through much pain. Some is discipline, some is suffering for the sake of righteousness. It is helpful to understand which category our troubles fall into since it helps us to deal with them.

And indeed, all who want to live a godly life united with the Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted(2 Timothy 3:12)

However sometimes the discipline is the result of sin or not obeying what clearly God has shown us.

Sin can always be forgiven when we repent. Repentance is not a one-off process. It is continual as the LORD highlights aspects of our lives where there is room for further sanctification

f we claim not to have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, then, since he is trustworthy and just, he will forgive them and purify us from all wrongdoing(1 John 1:8-9)

We should not get discouraged when we pass through hard times because of our own bad choices

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not resent his rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the son he delights in. (Proverbs 3:11-12)

We have a glorious future. As with the nation so it is in the life of the individual believer

Since ancient times no one has heard,
    no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
    who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. (Isaiah 64:4)

This article originally appeared on the BMJA website, September 16, 2022, and reposted with permission.