Ki Tavo is a fruitful parshah with many important messages. This Parshah includes the laws of the tithes given to the Levites and to the poor, and detailed instructions on how to proclaim the blessings and the curses. Moses reminds the people that they are G‑d’s chosen people, and that they, in turn, have chosen G‑d. The latter part of Ki Tavo consists of the Tochachah or the Rebuking. After listing the blessings with which G‑d will reward the people when they follow the laws of the Torah, Moses gives a long, harsh account of the bad things—illness, famine, poverty and exile—that shall befall them if they don't listen to G‑d’s commandments. Moses concludes by telling the people that only today, forty years after their birth as a people, have they attained “a heart to know, eyes to see and ears to hear.”
Even though the Jewish people had all personally experienced all the miracles first-hand, Moses tells them that in reality they have not experienced anything until now. The reason Moses says this has a deep connection to our real lives. We often look back on our lives and wonder how we acted a certain way. The reason there is such a difference in how we view things now as opposed to how we saw them when they were unfolding is that all of our actions in the past were based upon the life experiences we had until that point. So in the future, once we have experienced more, we view things differently and this will impact our future decisions. And these decisions will often be different from the ones we initially made. Moses wanted the Jewish people to understand that we evolve as human beings, and our mindsets evolve with us.
The point is that only once something has occurred in our lives do we have full clarity as to what happened. As time goes by, we look back on these same events with a new perspective and can dramatically change our attitudes toward these events. Our lives are constantly changing. One day we may be at home learning online in the midst of a pandemic, and the next back at school. We must not let these events define us. We must keep an open mind and learn from daily life. Moses didn't want the Jewish people ever to look back on the miraculous events they experienced and lose the clarity they had about God's existence and the love God has for his people. Just as today we must not look at any experiences we endure with a negative eye but we must have faith and see the lessons in our own lives.
Mia, Grade 11