Former Shaliach in Cape Town (1997-1998)
A large part of this week’s Parasha is the rebuke, in which Moshe warned the people what will befall them if they do not follow G-d’s words.
After this very long rebuke there is a very short paragraph describing all the miracles and the relief the Jews experienced at being saved and rescued since coming out of Egypt until the day of this speech.
The division of the chapters in the Tanach which we all use today was decided by a Christian scholar. He did not include this short historical paragraph with the rebuke, but rather attached it to the following topic, which also happened to be a new parasha – Parashat Nitzavim.
The Jewish tradition insisted on including our short paragraph in this week’s Parsha, Ki-Tavo.
The description of the punishments which we would experience if we won’t follow the Torah, are quite harsh; famine, incurable diseases and enslavement by cruel enemies.
The shocking description of those plagues that would be inflicted on us can cause fear and anxiety among the listeners of Moshe’s speech.
That is the reason for the short little paragraph at the end of our parsha – to wake the Jewish people up from their bad dream. They now realise that all those bad things had not occurred. To the contrary, their situation at the moment, as they are about to enter the Holy Land, is quite good and full of hope. It is in their hands, if only they want to keep it that way forever.
The mentioned paragraph at the end gives us hope as well, that all those terrible afflictions (most of which, unfortunately, we have experienced throughout our history) don’t have to happen (again), if only we follow the teachings of the Torah.