Ki Tavo


Sedrah Reflections – Ki Tavo: Cause and effect By Eli Nussbaum (to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Tami to Richie Cohen)

The verse (Devarim 26:11) ‘And you shall enjoy [Vesamachta] all the good HaShem has bestowed upon you …’ is the effect caused by the earlier verse (ibid v2) ‘And you shall take [Velakachta] from the first fruits …’. The message is clear: where there is no giving of one’s best, there can be no true joy. We receive as we give.

The philosophy of Velakachta – Vesamachta – giving and rejoicing, being the recipient when we give – can be illustrated from the world around us. Look into a mirror and the image returned replicates yours – whether a smile or scowl. Or take ‘cat’s eyes’: they shine back at you if you give them your light; without that, it becomes very dark!

Further evidence confirming these values can be seen in the marriage ceremony. Kiddushin 7a describes a case where the woman presented the man with Kesef (gift of monetary value) and the wedding was considered valid on this action. But how, when we know that the Kesef is the man’s responsibility to the woman? The Gemarah answers that we are talking about an ‘Adam Chashuv’ (important man). The happiness that the woman receives with the man accepting her gift has a tangible value that can itself validate a marriage. ‘Give kindness and you will receive joy into your soul’, says the Gemarah. ‘Yes, more than the rich do for the poor, the poor do for the rich’.

This reinforces the message of today’s Sedrah, amplifying the enormous benefit and joy one can receive by giving of one’s best. As we enjoy the week of Shevah Brachot for Tami and Richie, I can only pray that they go on to give of their best, to each other and those around them, which will in turn ensure that they gain the true happiness that comes with Velakachta – Vesamachta.