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by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek


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Parashas Ki Savo (73)

Understanding Rashi leads us to a realization about the Torah's subtle style.

Deut. 26:16

This day Hashem, your G-d, has commanded you to do these statutes and the judgments and you shall observe to do them with all your heart and soul.


And you shall observe and do them: Rashi: A heavenly voice blesses him 'You have brought the first fruits on this day, may you repeat [to do so] next year.'

What would you ask on this comment?

Your Question:


A Question: The simple meaning of these words would seem to be an admonishment to keep the mitzvah in the future. Why doesn't Rashi accept the simple meaning? Why the need for this "Bas Kol" ?

Can you think of a reason for this drash?

Your Answer:


An Answer: Various explanations have been suggested to make sense of this comment. Following is one of them.

These words seem completely out of place, since the whole section tells us that the man has already performed the mitzvah, has come to the Priest and has just made his declaration. Why, then, the necessity to tell him "you shall observe and do" ? He has just observed and done!

How does this comment deal with this difficulty?

Your Answer:


An Answer: Rashi's drash reinterprets these words from a command ("you shall do") to a blessing ("you will be enabled to do") - next year you will also be blessed with produce and again will come to acknowledge your thanks by offering your first fruits.

Can you see on what basis Rashi derived this drash ?

Your Answer:


An Answer: The late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, offered an interesting insight. He points out that the sedra Ki Savo is built on a reciprocal relationship between the Israelite and Hashem. A measure for measure relationship exists between Man and G-d. This is expressed here in the poetic chiastic form, that is, of the form of ABBA.

First Hashem gives of His bounty, (A)
then man acknowledges it . (B)
Man expresses his gratefulness, (B)
and then G-d gives His bounty. (A)

Regarding the first fruits we read:

Hashem gives: "And He brought you…and He gave you this Land of milk and honey." (26:9)(A)

Man acknowledges: "And now I have brought the first fruits of the soil (note: this is the produce of the Land of Milk and Honey) which You have given me, Hashem." (26:12) (B)

Regarding the tithes we find the same idea in reversed order:

First, man fulfills his obligation and expresses his gratefulness: "[I have done] all that You commanded me ...I have not forgotten.." (26:13) (B)

Then Hashem is asked to give of His bounty: "View from Your sacred residence in the heavens and bless Your people…"(26:15) (A)

But, (and now we come to the point), we have yet to see G-d's blessing, only the request for it.

Then comes our verse.

"This day Hashem, your G-d, commands you to do the statues and the laws and you will be enabled to observe and do them."

This is the blessing! The poetic couplet is complete now. G-d makes a promise by means of His heavenly voice that this man will be blessed again next year and will also be able to bring his first fruits once again.

Shabbat Shalom
Avigdor Bonchek "What's Bothering Rashi?" is a product of the Institute for the Study of Rashi and Early Commentaries. A Hebrew translation of the Bereishis "What's Bothering Rashi?" is published. It is greatly expanded and is call "L'omko shel Rashi" look for it in bookstores.

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