This year, we read the portion of Ki Tavo one week before Rosh Hashanah, which gives it a stronger meaning. Ki Tavo talks about blessings and curses; however, Rav Berg explains that we must look deeper into the words and the sentences written in the Torah. The Creator never created blessings and curses. The Creator established specific precepts and spiritual rules to help us in life and to permit free will.
The number of verses in the portion of Ki Tavo is 98, whose numerical value means Tzach, or ‘cleansing’. Reading this portion before Rosh Hashanah will help us to cleanse our negativity and prepare us for the Day of Judgment. The kabbalists explain that negative situations in our life – or curses, as we feel them – are actually big opportunities for us to go to our next level. When negative instances arise, it’s actually the Light pushing us to do what we so far have neglected. Rav Ashlag explains in his book On World Peace that at the End of Correction we will all be in the Final Redemption, and it is up to us to get there – either in a proactive way, with genuine effort and work on our correction; or in a reactive way, where the universe pushes us, causing pain and suffering. Our choice here is between the reactive way and the proactive way, because all of us, eventually, will reach our destination together.
In this portion, the Israelites are in their 40th year in the desert. Moses is teaching them the precepts they should keep before they enter the Holy Land. Those precepts are tools and wisdom to allow the Israelites to maintain their blessings in life – but even more so, they are meant to help them keep their consciousness.
The Israelites faced a new beginning before they entered Israel, like we feel before something big or new coming into our life: excitement, joy, appreciation, the desire to take the time to get ready for this new arrival and learn all about it. To help the Israelites achieve this level, Moshe tells them to bring the first crops of their harvest to the Holy Temple as a donation to remove Bread of Shame. That way, they would show appreciation to the Creator and keep the blessings in their life. This is part of the reason it is recommended to give donations in the month of Elul.
We are one week away from Rosh Hashanah and the excitement of a new beginning, with the power to transform curses into blessings by looking at every challenge as an opportunity to go to our next level, and to share as much as we can while appreciating what we have.