Parshat Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) begins by describing the annual mitzvah for the farmers of Israel to bring their bikurim, or first fruits, to the Kohen (priest) in the Temple, at which point the farmer acknowledges the important role Hashem played in providing his sustenance. After exhorting the Jewish people once again to remain faithful to Hashem who specifically selected them as His chosen people from amongst the nations of the world, Moses teaches two special mitzvot which they are to perform upon entering the land of Israel to reaffirm their commitment to the Torah. First they are to inscribe the entire Torah on twelve large stones, and then they are to recite blessings and curses in the valley between Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Eival which will apply respectively to those who observe or defy the Torah. Following a recounting of the wonderful blessings which Hashem will bestow upon the Jewish people for remaining faithful, Moses gives a chilling prophecy of what will befall the Jewish people for not following the Torah. Known as the tochachah (admonition), Moses graphically describes the horrible destruction which unfortunately came to pass when we strayed from Hashem. The Torah portion concludes as Moses looks back at the wondrous miracles which Hashem performed over the past forty years, reminding the people of the tremendous debt of gratitude that they owe Hashem for His loving care.
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