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Parshas Ki Savo (Ki Tavo)

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Parshas Ki Savo (Ki Tavo)
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Rav Moshe Feinstein - The Affinity For The Cursed Mountain

"It will be when you will go over the Yarden, you will set up these 12 stones at Har Aivol, and you will build a Mizbayach and bring Korbonos and be happy there" R' Moshe Feinstein asks, why were the Mizbayach and all the festivities taking place at Har Aivol? Har Aivol was the mountain that the Levim faced when they said the curses (Rashi 27:12). It would have been more appropriate to have these festivities on Har Grizim - the mountain they faced when the Brachos were said?

R' Moshe answers, although the promise of Blessings can cause a person to head in the right direction, the Yetzer HaRa can still convince a person that the pleasure of sin will be greater than the pleasure of these blessings - causing the person to sin. This is not so concerning a curse. The power of threatening one to be cursed with terrible suffering if he sins, will overcome his desire to sin. It is therefore more appropriate to celebrate on Har Avol than Har Grizim, because the curses at Har Aivol had a greater effect on Klal Yisroel.


Don't Even Think Of It

"Arur Asher Yaaseh Pesel" - "Cursed is the one that will make an idol" (27:15) Why does the pasuk say, "Asher Yaaseh"- "Cursed is the one that WILL make an idol" - in the future tense, it should have said "Asher Oseh Pesel" - one who makes an idol - in the present tense? Just like it says in pasuk 17 "Arur Masig Gvul Rayayhu"- "Cursed is the one that moves his friend's borders"- "Masig" is the present tense. It does not say "Yasig". Here too it should not say, "Yaaseh"?

The Meforshim answer, that by all Aveiros we say "Machshava Raah Ayn Mitzarfah LiMaaseh"- if one has intention to sin we do not consider it as if he sinned. The exception to this is the Avairah of Avodah Zarah. If one just has in mind to worship Avodah Zarah he is punished. This is the reason that the pasuk says "Asher Yaaseh" in the future - to tell us that even if he did not actually worship Avodah Zarah, rather he just had intentions that he WILL worship an idol - he is cursed.


Chasam Sofer - The Bracha Hits The Spot!

In the brachos it says (28:2) "U'Va'u Olecha Kol HaBrachos HaEileh V'Hisigucha"; The brachos will come on you and it will reach you. The Chasam Sofer asks, if the brachos come on you of course they reached you? He answers that Hashem gives us much bracha in our lives. What do we do with the riches he sends our way? Do we blow it on nonsense? Are the things we purchase transferable to the next world? When Hashem sends us bracha it must help us reach our goals or else it is not a bracha. Hashem promises that if we serve him with happiness we receive his material rewards we will spend it wisely making it a true bracha.


We Served Hashem But Not With Happiness - For This We Get All The Curses?

The Dubno Maggid tells a Mashal about a very wealthy man who returns from a long business trip. When he arrives in his home he realizes he left a suitcase at the train station. After describing the suitcase to his servant in great detail he asks him to go retrieve it for him while he goes to take a well deserved rest.

The servant comes back from the station breathing heavily leaves the suitcase at the front door. With sweat pouring down his brow proudly comes to tell his master that he brought the suitcase home. The master tells him that he brought the wrong suitcase. The servant says that he brought exactly the one described by the master and offers to bring it in to show him. The master says he doesn't need to because he definitely brought the wrong one. "How do you" asks the servant totally frustrated and exasperated. The master replied "You have sweat pouring down you face and my suitcase is not heavy. The one you struggled with cannot be mine."

Hashem tells Bnei Yisroel "V'Lo Oisi Karasa Yaakov, Ki Yagata Bi Yisroel"; when I see you struggling and laboring with the mitzvos it cannot be me that you are serving because my service is sweet and pleasurable.

This may explain the pasuk that says that all the horrible Klalos of the Tochacha come "Tachas Asher Lo Avadita Es Hashem Elokecha B'Simcha U'Btuv Leivav"; because you did not serve Hashem with happiness. While we may think that service of Hashem without happiness should earn us divine protection Hashem says, "absolutely not." If you do not find it joyful you must have some other agenda because if it were my service it would be a labor of love.


Bikurim - Why Do The Rich Guys Always Win?

"ViSamta Bateneh" - "You shall place the Bikkurim in a basket"; Chazal tell us that the wealthy people would bring their Bikkurim in golden baskets which the Kohanim would return to them. As opposed to the poor who would bring it in wicker baskets which the Kohanim kept. Why did the Kohanim return the baskets to the wealthy who did not need their baskets, and keep the poor man's basket? The Meforshim explain, this was in order not to shame the poor. The wealthy gave expensive, beautiful fruit. Even without the golden basket it looked impressive. Therefore the Kohanim returned the baskets to them. On the other hand, the poor gave low quality fruit. If it would have been removed from the basket, the poor man would be embarrassed. Therefore the Kohanim kept their fruit and the baskets.


The Trip To The Kohen's House

In the beginning of the parsha we find the section that deals with "Vidu Maasros" - which means that on Erev Pesach of the 4th year of the Shmittah cycle, every person must declare that he has cleared out his house from all his Maasros. He has given Masser Rishon to the Levi, Masser Ani to the poor, Bikkurim and Trumah to the Cohen etc. Why is this called "Vidu Maasros" - a confession on his giving Maasros? A confession applies when one sins and confesses his wrong doing. What sin is he confessing here by giving his Maasros?

The Sforno answers, the confession is on the sin of the Egel. If the Jews had not worshipped the Egel, the Avodah would have been done by the Bechorim-the first born males of every family. When it came time to give his Trumos and Maasros, he would not have to leave his house. He could just go over to his oldest brother and give it to him. When a person has to say today "Biarti HaKodesh Min HaBayis" - "I have removed the holy from my house" - in essence he his confessing to the sin of the Egel and saying, "I can not give away my Maaser by giving it to the Bechor in my house, I must take it out and give it to the Kohen and Levi who became the recipients after the Egel.


Why The Jewish Financiers?

Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz asks why do the goyim constantly come to borrow money from the Jews? Are there not enough non Jewish banks to borrow from? In the brachos of the parsha it says the goyim will borrow from you and you will not need to borrow from them, "Vihilvisa Goyim Rabim V'Ata Lo Silveh." (28:12)

He answers that Chazal tell us that the money Iyov had a special Bracha. Whoever invested money borrowed from Iyov made himself a large fortune. So too with Klal Yisroel. Money borrowed from a Jew will return dividends many times over. As word gets out the Jewish bank will become the place to stand on line.

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