‘Until this day …:’ Parashat Ki Tavo
D’var Torah by our Rabbi Lisa Edwards is published in this week’s Jewish journal. It explores a cryptic verse in this week’s parasha, that reads, “Yet until this day, God has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear”
It’s late September, and it’s a nervous time of year. Haunting reminders of 9/11, exhausting political campaigns, a new school year, continued global and local unrest, dispute, war, refugees.
And perhaps we’re more unsettled than usual in late September, not because of real and perceived concerns, but also because we’ve not yet entered, as we usually have by now, a new year on the Jewish calendar, not yet experienced, as we will in a little over a week, the calming influence of the open invitation that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur — the aptly named Days of Awe — offer to us each year.
But, really, could our times be more anxiety-inducing than the times we’ve been reading about during these past few weeks as we make our way through our annual reading of the Book of Deuteronomy? For weeks now, we’ve been listening to Moses, very near the end of his life, giving a long talk to the newer generation of Israelites — the ones still alive as the 40-year journey draws to a close, the ones born in the vast refugee camp of the wilderness, the ones who will soon enter the Promised Land, the first homeland they have ever known.
Moses speaks to them (and to us) as though they and we had been with him all along: enslaved in Egypt, walking through the parted waters of the Red Sea, standing together witnessing God’s revelations at Sinai, journeying four decades in this wilderness. And indeed, any time we open the book/scroll to read another passage, we are there with him. He speaks to us directly, saying, “You have seen all that God did before your very eyes … ” (Deuteronomy 29:1).