Ki Tavo

We conclude the review of the law code and Moses’ second discourse in this portion. In the final details, the Israelites are instructed that when they enter the Promised Land and settle it, they are to bring an offering of first fruits. In accepting the offering, the priest is to recite a brief history of the people, from Abraham’s and Jacob’s wanderings to the occupation and possession of the land. Moses begins a third discourse which deals with enforcement of the laws. Upon crossing the Jordan, the people set stones on Mt. Ebal on which they will inscribe the laws that Israel is to obey. This activity is to be followed by a dramatic recitation of the blessings that will accrue from obedience to God’s word and the curses that will follow upon failure to obey. The passage of curses (known as tochechah, or warnings) is much longer and more detailed than the passage of blessings, indicating the difficulty of convincing the people that it is in their best interest to live by God’s law.