Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Ki Tavo - 5773
Sitting in Shul and listening to the reading of the Torah is an experience that can lead to great fulfillment and spiritual satisfaction. Yet twice a year when the Baal Koreh reads the portion of the Tochecha- the admonition- we feel unsettled. When we hear the strong language of warning and the painful description of the curses that are to befall our nation, we shudder in discomfort. The sections of the Tochecha are indeed agonizing, yet are there for us to learn from them.
The Talmud notes several variations between the Tochecha that appears at the end of the book of Vayikra, and the one we read in Pareshat Ki Tavo. One of the differences is the fact that the curses found in Vayikra are expressed in the plural form, as opposed to the curses in our Paresha which are articulated in the singular. The Talmud indicates that this distinction reduces the harshness of the Tochecha of Ki Tavo. Commentators explain that by Moshe addressing the nation in the singular, he is actually providing for them the remedy for the ailment. The curses of Ki Tavo can only take hold on a nation that views itself as a collective body of many individuals. When however we change our outlook, and see ourselves as one unit and One People, all the horrors vanish!
As we prepare for the Yamim Noraim we must remember that if we set aside our differences and unite, and wholeheartedly concern ourselves with the welfare of Klal Yisrael, we can end the many challenges we face, and merit to see many blessings for ourselves our people and our land.