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Be Grateful. And Don't Forget!

Parashat Ki Tavo (Deut. 26:1–29:8)is linked to the conclusion of last week’s Torah portion which commands Israel to blot out the memory of Amalek. And do not forget!


Because Amalek still wants to blot out the Jewish People—God’s witnesses in this world. Amalek doubts HaShem’s goodness and His promises. A nation that doubts HaShem’s promises, soon forgets them, followed by doubting HaShem.

Much of Parashat KiTavo provides an antidote: Gratitude. How can we forget God if we are grateful for all He bestows on us. To instill such gratitude, the Creator tells Israel to observe the Shalosh Reglim, the three annual pilgrimage festivals of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot.

A life filled with gratitude is a model for living. Whether you're a mom, a nurse, a mechanic, painter, singer or fry cook, you can use God-given skills to pursue the stuff of life, ignoring the insecurity fueled by fears and lies fed to us daily by those who perpetuate the doubt that infuses the Amalek mind-set.

Keeping HaShem's blessings and His promises ever present in Israel's minds was also accomplished in another manner when God instructs the nation to inscribe the words of Torah, in 70 languages, on large stones as they enter the Promised Land. The Spanish sage, Abarbanel teaches that the stones, in one respect, serve as national mezuzot. They are a constant reminder to the Jews and to all nations, to never forget God, the source of all blessings. The 16th-Century commentator Moshe Alshich likens the stones to the 12 stones Ya'akov placed around his head, the night he slept on what is now the Temple Mount. It was there he dreamed of a sulom that reached from heaven down to site of the future temple. Israel is commanded to express joyful gratitude by bringing the harvest of Bikkurim (First Fruits) to the Temple, three times a year. As it says in Proverbs 3:9, "Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce."

It’s why we need the Temple, so that humanity can witness the tangible joys and visual splendor of the harvest festivals in Jerusalem and never forget to be grateful to our God.

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