The first sentence of the portion Ki Tavo says, Ki tavo el ha’aretz, vehaya ki tavo el ha’aretz, “and it will be when you will come to the Land,” asher Hashem eloheikha noten lakha, “that the Creator gives to you.” Here, Moses is speaking to the Israelites at the end of the 40 years as he is getting ready to leave this world; they will soon enter into the Land of Israel under the leadership of Joshua.
The kabbalists teach that the secret of the verse, and therefore the secret of the Shabbat of Ki Tavo, is not about entering into the physical land of Israel as the Israelites did thousands of years ago, but rather, about the elevation of the individual into what is called the Upper World. Rav Berg often says that consciousness is everything, that where a person’s thoughts and consciousness are is where he is. So, then the question is, how do we elevate our consciousness into that Upper World?
The answer is relatively straightforward and simple if we think about it.
When we give importance to, or become angry or worried about, things of this physical world, the world of Desire to Receive for the Self Alone, which is what all of us do 99% of the time, we are actually taking our consciousness and steeping it further into the physicality of this world. For instance, when somebody says something that upsets us, we have to ask ourselves: is this the type of thing that would upset a soul that resides in the Upper World, in a world that has no attachment to ego? If it’s something that almost always bothers, upsets, or worries us, it is because we are attached to the physicality of this world and to our ego.
This is also true about things that make us happy and that we enjoy; but, what are those things? If we are honest with ourselves, we realize that 99.9% of what brings us joy are not the things of that spiritual world, but rather, are the physical things of this world. And that’s dangerous for many reasons, because one of our purposes in life is to detach from that world and attach to the Upper World. It also says in this portion, vehaya ki tavo el ha’aretz; kabbalists explain that when vehaya is used it refers to joy. This teaches us that the only joy a person can ever really experience is in elevating himself to that Upper World. The only true joy is in detaching ourselves of this world of physicality, and attaching ourselves to the Supernal World.
So, again, the Land of Israel referred to here is not the actual physical land, but to the upper spiritual realm. And we have the choice - do we want to continue to reside in the world of Desire to Receive for the Self Alone, or do we want to detach and come, asher Hashem eloheikha noten lakha, into the Land where the Creator gives us constant Light and blessings? A lot of us, even those of us who are spiritual, think we have a choice and that it’s ok to remain relatively attached, saying to ourselves, “I know in the long-term I probably don’t want to be that attached. But I have time, I’m spiritual, I’m doing all these other things.” However, there is no choice, because the reason we are in this world is to detach from the world of the Negative Side, and to attach ourselves, in this life, in our consciousness, to the Upper World, and through that, draw unlimited blessings and miracles from the Light. It is an amazing gift that the portion and Shabbat of Ki Tavo gives us: the assistance to elevate our consciousness to the Upper World, to that of the Land of Israel.