KI SAVO (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) — “Gateway to the Holy Land”

Before I moved to my current home, I lived in a neighborhood where almost every home on the street was occupied by orthodox Jews.  As a result, it was very common to receive visits from agents of Jewish charitable organizations, offering to help us do the Mitzvah of supporting their noble causes.  (See Tzedakah — Who Is Doing a Favor for Whom?”)  However, once I moved to a new neighborhood a mile away, it all changed.  I was the only orthodox Jew on the street.  Very few live on the surrounding streets.  It is neither time- nor cost-effective for the charitable institutions to send their representatives to this neighborhood.  

On Purim night, many Yeshiva students go door-to-door, singing, dancing, and collecting for worthwhile institutions.  This past Purim, it was quiet in the Seplowitz home.  My son was out collecting Tzedakah with his friends, and I was sitting in the kitchen with my wife and daughters.  Suddenly there was a knock on the door?  Who could it be?  

I opened the door and beheld a young Chassidic Yeshivah student.  “Ah freilichin Purim!”  he cried.  “Happy Purim!”  I invited him into my home, where the two of us sang and danced for a minute or so.  I gave him a donation and thanked him for bringing a Mitzvah to my home.  

“But how did you know to come here?” I asked.  

“Simple,” he responded.  “I just walked up and down the street, looking for homes with Mezuzahs!”  

————————————————— 

Mezuzah.  That sheet of parchment in a case, attached to my doorpost. The Mezuzah tells the world who we are and what we believe.  It also symbolizes our trust in G-d as the Guardian of Israel.  

Our ancestors in Egypt sat in their homes eating Matzah and roasted lamb while G-d brought the Tenth Plague against the Egyptians.  The Hebrews, to show their faith in G-d, painted each doorpost (“Mezuzah” in Hebrew) with lamb’s blood.  They demonstrated that they were not afraid of the Egyptians or of their gods.  (One of which is the lamb, which they had just sacrificed and roasted as a Seder dessert!)  G-d saw the lamb’s blood on the doorposts of Israelite homes, leading Him to “Pass-over” the Israelite homes and afflict the Firstborn of Egypt.  

When we place a Mezuzah on our doorways, we state our belief that it is G-d, not our expensive locks and alarm systems, Who is the source of our protection.  (See the story of Unkelos, the Roman convert in “Sheepskin or Cheapskin?”.)  

The Mezuzah is placed on right-side doorpost of every entrance, whether to our homes, businesses, garages (yes! garage doorways!) and individual rooms.  It goes on a bedroom, office, storeroom, walk-in closet.)  It does not go on rooms where “not-so-honorable” things are done.  You don’t put Mezuzahs on a bathroom, or laundry room where dirty clothes are kept.  

The Mezuzah reminds us to keep our actions and deeds honorable and holy. 

————————————————— 

Shortly before his death, Moses told the nation to prepare to enter the Land of Israel.  He wanted to make sure that the Nation of Israel appreciated the sanctity of the Land they were about to enter.  He didn’t want them to repeat the mistakes of the Canaanites who were expelled from the Land due to their immoral behavior.   (See Leviticus, 18:24-29)  

On the day that you cross the Jordan into the Land that G-d is giving you, set up great stones, and coat them with plaster.  Inscribe on the stones all the words of this Torah, when you cross over, so that you may enter the Land that G-d gives you, a Land that flows with milk and honey…” (Deuteronomy, 27:2-3)  

The Talmud explains that these twelve gigantic stones were inscribed miraculously with the text of the entire Torah, translated into the primary languages of the world.  Rabbi Don Isaac Abarbanel writes that the purpose of the stones was to serve as a gigantic “Mezuzah.”  

We walk in the front doors of our homes and see a reminder of the fact that those homes exists only by the grace of G-d.  My house is actually G-d’s house.  I’m just His tenant.  A Mezuzah my door should remind me of my obligation to live in a way that brings honor to G-d.  Dishonorable rooms don’t get Mezuzahs.  

Those big stones served the same purpose.  The Land of Israel is G-d’s Land.  Those who entered the Land with Joshua set up those big “Mezuzahs” and were issued a BIG reminder:  

Our Homeland exists only by the grace of G-d.  We are tenants in G-d’s Land.  Those stones should remind the inhabitants of Israel to live in a way that brings honor to G-d.  Lands where dishonorable things are done don’t deserve those stones.  

Wouldn’t it be nice if the synagogue burners in Gaza and the religion haters in Tel Aviv were listening?  

Have a great Shabbos.

Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz 

———————————————————————

From the Archives

“A Basketful of Thanks” (2009) 

… The farmer would go out to his field.  He would examine his olive orchards and his vineyards.  As soon as he saw the first bud that became a ripe fruit, he tied a string around it for future identification.  (“This Bud’s for You!”)  At harvest time, he would take that olive, or that cluster of grapes, or that wheat stalk and bring it to Jerusalem in a basket… 

After all the love and protection that G-d has bestowed upon His children, how dare we thank Him with a measly single fruit?  “Thanks for saving my life and making me a millionaire.  Here, have a raisin!”… 

Read more

———————————————————————

 “It’s Aramaic to Me!” (2008) 

… Hearing the entire Torah in Shul is not sufficient: 

“Although one hears the entire Torah every Shabbos with the congregation, he is required to personally read every week from that week’s Portion, twice from the text, and once from Targum. (‘Translation’)” – Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, 285:1) … 

Every week, people read each verse of the upcoming Torah reading twice, followed by the Aramaic translation …

How about English?  Would it be acceptable for us Americans, whose Aramaic skills may be a little rusty, to read it twice in Hebrew, and once in English?…  

Read more

———————————————————————

 “Gateway to the Holy Land” (2005) 

… I was the only orthodox Jew on the street.  Very few live on the surrounding streets.  It is neither time- nor cost-effective for the charitable institutions to send their representatives to this neighborhood. 

…I opened the door and beheld a young Chassidic Yeshivah student.  “Ah freilichin Purim!”  he cried.  “Happy Purim!”  I invited him into my home, where the two of us sang and danced for a minute or so.  I gave him a donation and thanked him for bringing a Mitzvah to my home. 

“But how did you know to come here?” I asked. 

“Simple,” he responded. . . 

Read more

———————————————————————

 “How Could G-d Let this Happen to Me?” (2003) 

I turned on my car radio this morning (Thursday) and heard innocent voices of youth reciting a list of names. 2,792 names, read in alphabetical order, often preceded by, “and my father, _____”, or “and my mother and my hero, ____ “, or my dear uncle, _____.” 

So sad.  It seems like a million years ago, and it seems like only yesterday.  The day the world changed forever.  The day that many people said to America, “Welcome to Israel.”  Now everybody knows what a fragile and volatile cocoon of a world we live in … 

Read more

———————————————————————

 “Blessings and Curses on the West Bank” (2002) 

… Joseph had complained to his father about some of their actions. The brothers convened a Bais Din, a rabbinical court. In this court, they determined that Joseph, by gossiping to their father, had violated one of the curses in the Torah, and as such, deserved to be punished… 

 Read more.

———————————————————————

 “Let There Be Light” (2001) 

…This is a theory I like to call “religious atheism.” It conveniently allows one to believe in G-d without being angry with Him.  While some find comfort in this belief, it has no connection with Torah Judaism… 

Read more

———————————————————————

 “Watch Out For WHAT Car?” (2000) 

… “An Aramean tried to destroy my father. (This is a reference to Laban of Aram who tried to destroy Jacob.) …  the reference to Laban is surprising …We know him to be a swindler. We see throughout his connection with Jacob that he did everything he could to take unfair advantage of him. Laban promised his daughter Rachel to Jacob as a wife, only to trick him into marrying her older sister Leah instead. He negotiated one salary with Jacob and paid him a lower one. But nowhere do we find any indication that Laban actually wanted to KILL Jacob… 

Read more.    

———————————————————————

This is the weekly message at http://torahtalk.org. Copyright © 2000-2012 by Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz.  May be reprinted. Please include copyright information.

———————————————————————

Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz is a Mohel (Brisrabbi.com) and chaplain in Monsey, New York. For information about scheduling a Bris or a lecture, or just to say hello, call (800) 83MOHEL.

———————————————————————

If you enjoyed this message, email it to a friend.

To subscribe to this mailing, send an e-mail to TorahTalk@gmail.com and type SUBSCRIBE on the subject line.

To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to TorahTalk@gmail.com and type UNSUBSCRIBE on the subject line.

 

Advertisements
Published in: on September 23, 2005 at 4:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://torahtalk.wordpress.com/2005/09/23/ki-savo-%e2%80%9cgateway-to-the-holy-land%e2%80%9d/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: