Vol 2.17 - Tavo                          Spanish French Audio  Video

Hebrew Text:

Page 390   Page391   Page392   Page393   Page394   Page395   Page396   Page397   Page398


Par 1) The lesson  of Bikkurim (firstfruits) in Avodat HaShem
Par 2) The reason for reading the Tochachah ("Rebuke") and the difference between the "Rebuke"
       in Parshat Tavo to the "Rebuke" in Parshat Bechukotai
Par 4) The difference between "Kol D’Avid Rachamana L’Tov Avid"
(Whatever the Merciful One does, He does it for the best") and "Gam Zu L’Tova" (This, too, is for good)

Par 8) Elul - preparation for Tishrei. It's acronym - Torah, Tefillah, Gemillat Chassadim, Teshuvah and Geulah

Par 9) In Selichot: "Yours, G-d, is the righteousness, and ours is the shamefacedness"



The Rebbe says:

1. Before the festival of Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) and the festival of Shavuos (the giving of the Torah) we read the “Tochachah” (the consequences or curses enumerated in the Torah for rejecting G-d’s word). The “Tochachah” before the festival of Shavuos is found in Parshas Bechukosai, and the “Tochachah” before the festival of Rosh Hashanah is found in Parshas Ki Savo (this week’s Torah portion). 

2. The Rebbe explains the reason for reading the “Tochahah”: 

Our Sages tell us that the “Tochachah” is actually not a punishment; it is a purification and cleansing process. In other words, hearing the Torah enumerating the harsh consequences for disobeying G-d’s word is a sobering experience where we shake off all our “dirt”.
The Rebbe says:

1. Before the festival of Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) and the festival of Shavuos (the giving of the Torah) we read the “Tochachah” (the consequences or curses enumerated in the Torah for rejecting G-d’s word). The “Tochachah” before the festival of Shavuos is found in Parshas Bechukosai, and the “Tochachah” before the festival of Rosh Hashanah is found in Parshas Ki Savo (this week’s Torah portion).

2. The Rebbe explains the reason for reading the “Tochahah”:

Our Sages tell us that the “Tochachah” is actually not a punishment; it is a purification and cleansing process. In other words, hearing the Torah enumerating the harsh consequences for disobeying G-d’s word is a sobering experience where we shake off all our “dirt”. 

Therefore, before we receive the great revelations of Rosh Hashanah and Shavuos, and we need to be a proper vessel to receive this, we first read the “Tochachah” to cleanse ourselves. This can be compared to someone who wants to place a rare and precious jewel into a box for safekeeping that first cleans and scours the box to be a proper container for the jewel.

In other words, even though the bottom line is that for a small amount of time the person is suffering, never the less, Hashem who is our “Merciful Father” still decided that it is worth going through this so that we can receive the “precious jewel” afterwards.

3. The Rebbe now begins explaining the difference between the “Tochachah” which is read before the festival of Rosh Hashanah and the “Tochachah” which is read before the festival of Shavuos:

In the “Tochachah” which is read before Shavuos there are forty nine curses whereas in the “Tochachah” which is read before Rosh Hashanah there are ninety eight curses which is double as many curses as the “Tochachah” read before Shavuos.

Moreover, bearing in mind the previous explanation that the “Tochachah” is a preparation for a great revelation, we can understand that the more cleansing there is, the greater the revelation is going to be. Consequently, Rosh Hashanah, which has a preparation of double as many curses as Shavuos does, must have double as great a revelation than Shavuos does.

4. The Rebbe continues explaining how the revelation of Rosh Hashanah is greater:

The revelation on Shavuos is the level of “Or Yashar”, which is a gift from Hashem from above to below. This is as our Sages tell us that at the time of the giving of the Torah the Jewish people had the status of a convert who is like a newborn child; just like a newborn child has a clean slate and does not work for Hashem (in the classic sense), so too the giving of the Torah was a present from Hashem without our having to work for it.

The revelation on Rosh Hashanah is the level of “Or Chozer”, which is through our work, and this is a greater revelation than “Or Yashar”.

This also fits with the type of months of preparation which take place before these festivals:

The Hebrew months of Nissan, Iyar, and some of Sivan, are the preparatory months for the festival of Shavuos, and these months represent the service of Tzadikim (righteous ones) which is the service of “from above to below”. As our Sages tell us, the verse, “My Beloved (Hashem) is to me, and I am to my Beloved (Hashem)”, refers to the months of Nissan, Iyar, and the beginning of Sivan, because during these months Hashem comes close to us as a gift first- “My Beloved (Hashem) is to me”, and then we work on coming close to Him- “And I am to my Beloved (Hashem)”. Therefore it is fitting that these months are the preparation for Shavuos which is a gift from Hashem from above to below.

On the other hand the preparation for Rosh Hashanah is the month of Elul which represents the service of Balei Teshuvah (people who repent). As we know, the Hebrew name for the month of Elul is an acronym for the verse, “Ani L’Dodi V’Dodi Lee – I am to my Beloved (Hashem), and my Beloved is to me”,; in the month of Elul there must first be “I am to my Beloved”- us returning to Hashem, and only then is it “And my Beloved is to me”- Hashem coming close to us. Therefore it is fitting that Rosh Hashanah comes right after the month of Elul because Rosh Hashanah is also the service of from below to above.

Additionally, the type of month also fits with the levels of revelation that we discussed earlier:

Our Sages tell us that a Tzadik (righteous man) cannot stand in the place of a Bal Teshuvah (someone who repented). So too, the month of Elul and then Rosh Hashanah, which represent the service of the Bal Teshuvah (as we just explained), has a greater revelation than Shavuos and the months preceding it which represent the service of the Tzadik.

From http://crownheights.info/something-jewish/20788/the-weekly-sicha-of-the-rebbe-parshas-ki-savo/

Translated and adapted by Shalom Goldberg. Taken from Likutei Sichos volume two, second Sicha.

“All For The Good”
In preparation for Rosh HaShanah1 we read the Admonition, the Tochacha , from the Torah portion of Savo. After Savo, we read Nitzavim and oftentimes Vayeilech as well, in order to put at least one portion between the Tochacha and the festival.

The reason we read Savo before Rosh HaShanah is because the Admonition is not, G‑d forbid, meant as punishment.2 Rather, it serves to cleanse us; before something precious is placed in a vessel, the vessel must be thoroughly cleaned.

Rosh HaShanah draws down into the world, as a whole and into the Jewish people in particular, a degree of G‑dliness never drawn down before.3 It is thus necessary to first “cleanse the vessel.” This ablution, albeit temporarily painful, is — like all things that come from above — for the good.

We find two expressions in the Gemara expressing the theme that all that comes from above is for the good:

a) “All that G‑d does, He does for the good;”4

b) “This, too, is for the good.”5

The first expression is mentioned in the Gemara in Aramaic, while the second is cited in Lashon HaKodesh, the Holy Tongue.

Lashon HaKodesh is a language that is both holy and refined. All things in Lashon HaKodesh are clear, i.e., we are able to clearly see how everything is for the good. “All that G‑d does, He does for the good,” however, was said in Aramaic; the goodness is not so clearly seen.

This will be better understood by describing the incidents that gave rise to these two expressions:

R. Akiva once went on a journey and took along a candle, a donkey and a rooster. Providentially, he could not find lodging in the city, so he slept in a nearby field. A wind extinguished his candle, a lion ate his donkey, and a cat ate his rooster. Said R. Akiva: “All that G‑d does, He does for the good.”

A little later it was revealed that all was indeed for the good. For that night a marauding band had plundered the nearby city. Had he slept in the city, he too would have fallen victim; had the candle not been extinguished he would have been seen; had the donkey and rooster not been consumed, the sounds they made would have been heard by the brigands. By losing everything he was saved.

“This, too, is for the good” is cited in the Gemara with regard to the Tanna Nachum Ish Gam Zu, who was called this for he would always say: “Gam zu l’tovah,” “This, too, is for the good.”

R. Nachum was sent with a treasure chest to the king of Rome to avert a decree against the Jewish people. Robbers came and stole all the gems in the chest, replacing them with sand. Said R. Nachum: “This, too, is for the good.”

When he presented the chest of sand to the king, he was about to be summarily executed. G‑d sent Eliyahu HaNavi in the form of one of the king’s ministers, who suggested that this might be “magic Jewish sand,” similar to the sand used by Avraham. The earth was immediately put to good use in battle.

The difference between these incidents is that R. Akiva truly suffered a loss and was anguished. Yes, it served a beneficial purpose, but the events themselves pained him. R. Nachum, however, suffered no loss at all. On the contrary, had he brought the gems, who knows whether this would have been an agreeable gift, as a king does not lack precious stones. Magical sand, however, is a different matter.

Thus, R. Akiva did in fact endure pain at his loss, though his suffering saved his life. For R. Nachum, however, the robbery itself was an act of goodness.

R. Nachum was R. Akiva’s master.6 R. Akiva thus lived a generation later, during a time when there was a greater degree of darkness, for with each generation away from the Beis HaMikdash the darkness grows. He therefore could not see in a revealed sense how every event in itself is good. He therefore said: “All that G‑d does, He does for the good.”

R. Nachum, however, lived a generation earlier, at a time of greater divine illumination, and was able to perceive the actual goodness inherent in even a seemingly untoward event. Therefore his constant comment was: “This, too i.e. the event itself is clearly an act of goodness.”

From https://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2347918/jewish/Chassidic-Dimension-Volume-4-Savo.htm

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, pp. 392-395.

1. Rosh HaShanah 31b.

2. See Likkutei Torah , Vayikra, p. 48a.

3. Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle XIV.

4. Berachos 60b.

5. Taanis 21a, Sanhedrin 108b.

6. Chagigah 12a.

Living with the Rebbe
This week's Torah portion, Ki Tavo, contains the mitzva of bikurim, first fruits. The bikurim had to be of the finest fruits that were produced in the land of Israel, the first to mature in a particular season, and they were brought to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem before their owner was permitted to enjoy the rest of his bounty. By bringing the bikurim, a person expressed his thanks to G-d for His blessings. Unlike other offerings that were burned on the altar, the first fruits were given to the kohen (priest) for his own consumption.
We must always remember that all abundance comes from G-d. Our crops yield fruit not because of our merit or because of our labors, but solely due to G-d's blessing.

The farmer invests a great deal of effort before seeing results. He must plow the earth, sow his seeds, and carefully nurture his saplings. Yet, when all these labors are done, he takes those fruits and elevates them to the realm of holiness. The farmer knows that it is G-d's blessing which causes the tree to bear fruit. Accordingly, the very best of his produce rightly belongs to Him.

The bikurim, having been elevated, are given to the kohen to be eaten as part of his Divine service.

From this we learn that a Jew must serve G-d not only when he prays or learns Torah. A Jew serves G-d throughout the day, even when engaged in as mundane an activity as eating! True, such service involves a great deal of preparation, but the reward is commensurate with the effort.

The principle behind the mitzva of bikurim may be applied even today, when the Jewish people are in exile. This is true even outside the land of Israel and even on a regular weekday!

We do so by acknowledging that all our wealth and possessions come directly from G-d and by utilizing all that G-d has blessed us with for holy purposes. In this manner the Jew can turn even the simplest object into a medium for holiness. When we thank G-d for everything He gives us, all of our actions are transformed into a Divine service.

In the times of the Holy Temple, a blessing was recited when the bikurim were brought asking G-d to allow us to joyfully perform the same mitzva the following year. Likewise, whenever we utilize G-d's gifts according to His dictates, it brings down Divine blessing so that in the future, too, we will merit to enjoy them with gladness and rejoicing.

From http://www.lchaimweekly.org/lchaim/5767/985.htm

Adapted from Likutei Sichot of the Rebbe, vol. 2

Living with the Rebbe
The opening words of the Torah portion, Ki Tavo, outline the precept of bikurim, the first ripe fruits which were to be brought as an offering of thanks to G-d for giving us the Land of Israel.
One of the points emphasized by the commentators on these opening verses is that as long as the entire Land was not yet in the possession of the Jewish nation, the individual Israelite who had already received his portion of the country was not required to bring the bikurim offering.

The bikurim offering was an expression of overwhelming gratitude to G-d for coming into the Holy Land and enjoying its fruits. For the individual who had already entered the land, taken possession of his portion and enjoyed the fruits, was it not ungrateful to wait until the end of the fourteen years of conquest and apportionment to the tribes before bringing bikurim? Why were these individuals not required to offer bikurim to thank G-d for the good He had already bestowed upon them?

Here, however, is where the Torah's great teaching of ahavat Yisrael (love for another Jew) comes into play: The bikurim offering was to be brought as an expression of complete, perfect joyousness. This is evident from several laws of bikurim, e.g. they were to be brought only from the fruits with which Israel was praised; they were to be brought only once a year-because something which is repeated during the year does not evoke as much joy. But all our people are interconnected, and so long as even one single Jew remained who had not yet taken possession of his inheritance in Israel-however lowly and "unimportant" that person may have been-then there was something missing from the goodness and pleasure experienced by all his brother Jews. For all Israel is as one. Empathy for another's lack is to reach the point of feeling the emptiness within oneself. Since the joy of those who had already taken possession of their own portion was incomplete (because of their brother's lack), they could not bring bikurim!

Ki Tavo is always read close to the 18th of Elul. This date is the anniversary of the birth (in 1698) of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Chasidism in general, and of the birth (in 1745) of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad-Lubavitch Chasidism. These two great luminaries of Chasidism made ahavat Yisrael the touchstone of their teachings and the exemplary feature of their own personal lives. The Baal Shem Tov's foremost disciple, Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezritch stated, "If only we could kiss the Torah scroll with the same tender affection that my master, the Baal Shem Tov, would embrace the small children he brought to cheder." And Rabbi Shneur Zalman's followers lived with the motto, "The piece of bread that I have is yours just as it is mine," and they would say the word yours first, "...yours just as it is mine."

From http://wikisicha.com/tiki-editpage.php?page=Vol%202.17%20-%20Tavo&page_ref_id=2474

The Chasidic Dimension, adapted from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe


http://old2.ih.chabad.info/images/notimage/15822_en_1.pdf(external link)


Gutnick Chumash pp. 392-3
 Date Delivered:   Reviewer:       
Date Modified:    Date Reviewed: