Ariel Ben Avraham
Ariel Ben Avraham

Parshat Ki Tavo: The heritage of God’s love

The second verse of this portion commands…

“(…) that you shall take of the first of all the fruit of the ground which you will bring from your land, which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 26:2)

Our mystic sages refer to two levels of awareness represented by the vegetable and animal realms. Contrary to what we may think, they explain that the former depicts sensuality and sexual activity (symbolized by the perennial blossoming and fruitfulness of some plants and trees), and the latter purposefulness and movement (symbolized of the instinctual animal behavior to act according to their purpose in nature).

In this sense we may have a better understanding of the sacrifices (offerings) made by Cain and Abel. In the context of this portion, the “fruit of the ground” (the expression of our individual creative process in every aspect of consciousness, particularly those related to the senses, sensuality, passions, and instincts) must be elevated towards the mission the Creator has commanded to Israel.

The previous verses in Ki Teitzei and the followings in Ki Tavo are related to the ethical values aimed to promote individual and collective harmony among different social levels and economic conditions among the people of Israel. Hence, the verse above is just another reminder that we have to direct all aspects of consciousness toward God’s ways and attributes, because we have to be aware that all creation, our individual lives included, belong to the Creator.

By acknowledging this, we are indeed willing to fulfill God’s will.

“I declare this day to the Lord, your God, that I have come to the land which the Lord swore to our forefathers to give us.” (26:3)

This land is the awareness that God’s love made us, and we also must be and do according to love’s ways as individuals and as the nation we are.

Our true freedom takes place in this level of consciousness opposite to slavery under ego’s materialistic fantasies and illusions. These are the mirages for which we enslave our life to “work hard” to keep them as “real”.

“And the Egyptians treated us cruelly and afflicted us, and they imposed hard labor upon us.” (26:6)

This is why we have to remember every day our Exodus from Egypt in order to make the choice every moment, either to live in the slavery of ego’s illusions or in the freedom of love’s attributes.

After all, God’s love is our true essence and redemption from the miseries of living by and for the illusions of the material world.

“So we cried out to the Lord, God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.” (26:7)

We become truly free in the land that He offers us.

“And He brought us to this place, and He gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (26:9)

That is the place in every levels of consciousness where we all are happy.

“Then, you shall rejoice with all the good that the Lord, your God, has granted you and your household you, the Levite, and the stranger who is among you.” (26:11)

The place where every level and dimension of consciousness dwell in the transcendence of God’s love as our essence and identity.

For this we ask God constantly to keep us aware of love’s attributes as His heritage for us.

“Look down from Your holy dwelling, from the heavens, and bless Your people Israel, and the ground which You have given to us, as You swore to our forefathers a land flowing with milk and honey.” (26:15)

“And the Lord has selected you this day to be His treasured people, as He spoke to you, and so that you shall observe all His commandments, and to make you supreme above all the nations that He made, [so that you will have] praise, a [distinguished] name and glory; and so that you will be a holy people to the Lord, your God, as He spoke.” (26:18-19)

Hence we have to choose back to Him by exercising and manifesting the identity He has bestowed upon us, the honor and privilege of being and manifesting love’s ways and attributes as the inheritance of the greatest love of all, God’s love.

The prophet again recalls for us the awareness of our heritage in the haftarah for this portion.

“And nations shall go by your light and kings by the brilliance of your shine. Lift up your eyes all around and see, they all have gathered, they have come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be raised on [their] side. Then you shall see and be radiant, and your heart shall be amazed and become enlarged, for the abundance of the sea shall be turned over to you, the wealth of the nations that will come to you.” (Isaiah 60:3-5)

In this awareness we realize our purpose and destiny.

“Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither robbery nor destruction within your borders, and you shall call redemption your walls and your gates praise. You shall no longer have the sun for light by day, and for brightness, the moon shall not give you light, but the Lord shall be to you for an everlasting light, and your God for your glory.” (60:18-19)

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Kochav Yaakov.
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