Parsha Ki Tavo — the gratitude of living in the Land

Jeffrey Levine
3 min readSep 15, 2022


Oi. When I look at the opening words of the Parsha, I want to cry out and ask- How can any Jew live anywhere but Israel? Hashem is calling us to his Land. Week after week.

So, what are we waiting for? This Land is blessed, and we have the merit to dwell in it.

“Look down from Your holy abode, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the soil You have given us, a land flowing with milk and honey, as You swore to our fathers.””

הַשְׁקִ֩יפָה֩ מִמְּע֨וֹן קׇדְשְׁךָ֜ מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֗יִם וּבָרֵ֤ךְ אֶֽת־עַמְּךָ֙ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְאֵת֙ הָאֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָתַ֖תָּה לָ֑נוּ כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר נִשְׁבַּ֙עְתָּ֙ לַאֲבֹתֵ֔ינוּ אֶ֛רֶץ זָבַ֥ת חָלָ֖ב וּדְבָֽשׁ׃ {ס}

We are truly blessed. On this Rosh Hashanah, we should drink a l’chaim to God and to the land. And have gratitude for all the good, and for the challenges to grow.

Today, I met on the train a sweet young man called Akiva living in the old city of Jerusalem with his wife and 4 kids. One of 80 families living in what is currently the Muslim quarter and which was previously a mixed area of Jews and Muslims until the Jews were forced out in the 1920s. Living there can not be easy. It is a life of meaning, being part of the continuing Jewish story in the Land. I am so in awe of him.

While we all can not be at that level, I urge all my brothers and sisters to come back home.

What follows after these blessings is a series of curses.

אָר֗וּר מַטֶּ֛ה מִשְׁפַּ֥ט גֵּר־יָת֖וֹם וְאַלְמָנָ֑ה וְאָמַ֥ר כׇּל־הָעָ֖ם אָמֵֽן׃

Cursed be the one who subverts the rights of the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. — And all the people shall say, Amen.

Yes, we are charged to uphold a moral code and uphold the rights of those who are unfortunate.

On Rosh Hashana, we are being judged. The world is being judged.

It would seem the world is cursed-extreme weather, droughts, and floods in Pakistan with terrible loss and damage. I ask where is the pouring out of aid and help for these unfortunate people.

Ashamnu- we have sinned

Saranu — We have failed to have compassion

While I have a lot of gratitude, I am fearful of the lack of ethics, morals, and compassion in the world today. May Hashem have mercy and bestow his kindness on the world.

We have forgotten that there is a creator. We are like sheep without a shepherd. We have lost our connection to our shepherd.

So, where is our salvation? In Biden, Musk, Putin, et Al or God.

Well on this Rosh Hashana, God has my vote.

I heard a beautiful or scary thought. When talking about the curses in Parsha Bechukotai, it repeats the word “Kerry” which is translated as happenstance or casual, when we ascribe events to chance and not to God, God withdraws or hides his presence. And this could lead to so-called natural disasters. in other words, the more we believe, the more we believe in hashgasha pratis (the hand of God), the more involved God will become — original thoughts by Rabbi Y Breitowitz.

I heard another similar thought which starts like this — The curses are the history of the future. Indeed, it is not natural that the Jews should survive through the millennia, while so many nations are no more. Is it the hand of God, or our efforts? The answer is both. God is waiting for us to be part of the continual story of redemption.

On Rosh Hashana, we remember where we come from, we cry out from our depths through the shofar and recognize God as our King in the Aleina L’ Shebach prayer

עָלֵֽינוּ לְשַׁבֵּֽחַ לַאֲדוֹן הַכֹּל לָתֵת גְּדֻלָּה לְיוֹצֵר בְּרֵאשִׁית

It is our obligation to praise the Master of all, to ascribe greatness to the Creator of the world.

And through this prayer which we recite thrice daily, may we merit for God not to conceal himself and bring the redemption and spread the tabernacle of prosperity and peace.



Jeffrey Levine

Jeffrey Levine provides CFO, Director, ESG Advisory Services through and is a promoter of ideas and trends where Innovation meets ESG