Ki Tavo: A Summary of the Parashah
Moses instructs the Israelites regarding the first fruit offering; Moses then lists the blessings for keeping the commandments and the punishments for disobeying them.
"If you hearken to God and carry out God's commandments, God will set you above all the nations of the earth. You will be blessed in the city and in the field. Blessed will be the fruit of your body and the fruit of your soil and the fruit of your livestock. Blessed will you be when you come in and when you go out.
"God will deliver your enemies. God will raise you up as a holy nation and you will walk in God's ways. God will give you rain in its season and bless all the work of your hand. You will lend to many nations but you will not borrow. God will make you a head and not the tail, you will be only above and not below if you hearken to God's commandments.
"But it shall come to pass that if you will not hearken to the voice of God, nor carry out God's commandments that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you. Cursed you will be in the city and the field, cursed will be your fruits of your body and soil and livestock. Cursed will you be when you come in and when you go out. God will unleash against you the curse, and you will be restless and feel guilt in everything to which you put your hand, so that you will be destroyed because of your wickedness in forsaking God.
"Since you did not serve God with joy and with gladness of heart, therefore you will serve your enemies whom God will send against you. If you do not fear God's Name, then God will send to you plagues and sufferings and sicknesses that are evil and enduring. And you will be left only few in number instead of as you were like the stars of the heavens.
"You will be scattered among all the peoples from one end of the earth to another and serve other gods. Among these nations you will find no peace and your heart will be full of trembling and grieving of the soul. You will have terror night and day and no faith in your life. You will be returned to slavery. These are the words of this Covenant at Moab."
Moses called out to Israel, and said, "Before your eyes in the land of Egypt, you have seen all that God did to the Pharaoh, his servants and his land. These great acts of proof you have seen. I led you for forty years in the wilderness and your clothing and shoes did not wear out. You neither ate bread nor drank wine nor strong drink to know that God is Your God. And you came to this place and your enemies were driven away. Therefore keep carefully the words of this Covenant so that you may practice intelligently everything you do."
Questions For Discussion
1) What does it mean that the Jews are "a people belonging to God?" Don't all people belong to God?
2) If the Israelites choose not to follow God's laws and walk in God's ways will the people still belong to God?
3) Do you think God still sends blessings and curses to the Jews? How?
4) How has God blessed and cursed you in your life?
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