Ki Tavo is one of two portions that contain a tochacha. A tochacha is a frightening prediction of what might happen to us if we do not follow the laws (of God) that we are commanded to follow. As you read each line of the tochacha it is not hard to see that at several points in time we (the people of Israel) have suffered from many of the very predictions so vividly described in this week’s portion.
The tochacha is preceded by a much shorter promise of all the good things that would transpire if we would indeed obey God’s laws.
Sadly, the Shoah represented all too many of the horror stories predicted; and those who survived the concentration camps have recorded in detail the crimes against humanity that clearly mimic the gory predictions of the tochacha. However, we have also witnessed some of the miracles predicted for obeying God’s laws found in the blessings that precede the tochacha.
Since 1948 we have witnessed the times that our far more numerous enemies fled from us in a multitude of directions. We have witnessed a strong population growth against all odds in Israel. We have benefited from a strong Israeli economy that impacts every critical area of scientific discovery around the world. And of late, we are beginning to discover a huge oil and natural gas basin in Israeli territory that can change the entire structure of the oil economy round the world. The Leviathan fields in the Mediterranean potentially hold more oil than that possessed by Saudia Arabia. We’ve got the (zayit) olives, we’ve got the (d’vash) honey, and finally we have the (shemen) oil to go along with it. At long last we can be a land of z’et, shemen, u’dvash that God promised us many times.
But beware. Sentence 14 of chapter 28 in Ki Tavo clearly warns us of what we must do in order to preserve the “good times.” “Do not turn away from all the things I command you, to the left or to the right, to walk after another god and worship it.”
Today we are challenged by extremists of the left and the right that endanger the general welfare of the State of Israel. On the right we have religious lunatics who pretend to be pious while they meet with Iranian President Ahmadinejad on Shabbat in Tehran. Likewise, they often violate numerous Shabbat ordinances and other basic human laws by throwing rocks and hurting others on Shabbat. In order to prevent or discourage Shabbat violation they violate it themselves. In order to prove their love for G-d they plot with Jew haters to destroy Israel; how utterly shameful and absolutely ridiculous. They endanger the safety and welfare of all Jews the world over.
On the left we have the self-hating Jew who has found a new god to worship: the god of assimilation that condemns brit milah, that says we should forget about kashrut and eat pork and shrimp; the god of liberalism and the god of submission (to the Arabs), the god that tells them to pretend to be pro-Israel while supporting every anti-Israel initiative and supporting every pro-Arab one. A god that tells them to demonstrate and protest for the Arabs while ignoring every important issue that would in any way cast them in the role of truly pro-Israel people. When was the last time you read about these so-called pro-Israel organizations protesting missiles and rockets being shot into Sderot, Ashkelon, and the rest of Israel? When was the last time you saw representatives crying about the blood of Israel’s women and children intentionally targeted by the Arab terrorists? When did those (leftist) organizations sponsor a new ambulance for Magen David Adom?
Israel stands on a precipice. We can move forward to all of the blessings promised in the Torah if all of us can once again become part of Am Yisroel. The bleeding hearts of the left and the so-called ultra-religious right together endanger the existence, future prosperity, and self defense of Israel, as well as the health and welfare of Jews worldwide. Should these two forces, which have absolutely no use for each other, succeed, Jews the world over will witness the destruction of the State of Israel and we will once again be a people without a homeland. We will be subject to the whims of tyrants all around the world with nobody out there to save us. Make no mistake about it, if Israel disappears, things will not be very good for the Jews ““ even in this United States of America.
If you think it can’t happen again in Europe, or it can’t happen here, guess again. Have you read about anti-kashrut measures around the world? How about anti-circumcision measures in San Francisco, San Diego, and elsewhere in CA? How about Jews in Hungary being called “stinking excrement” in a major Hungarian daily, the Magyar Hirlap? How about a Rutgers Middle East outreach professional calling a Jewish student a “racist Zionist pig” for speaking out for Israel and receiving no follow-up consequences? Shechitah is being banned in Holland; Norway bans shechitah but is allowing Muslims to slaughter Halal meat. Sweden, Luxembourg, and Switzerland also ban kosher schechitah. You can be sure more European countries are going to follow. Banning shechitah and brit milah were two of the first moves by the Nazis; this should tell us something. We need Israel a whole lot more than Israel needs us.
Jews, regardless of their level of religious observance, must support and stand up for brit milah and kashrut. Likewise, we all need to support Israel. If we don’t, rest assured that the punishments of the tochacha in this week’s portion will be upon us in a way that will make the Holocaust and Inquisition look like child’s play.
May the tochacha (warning) that we read this week serve its purpose to wake the Jewish people from their slumber, cure their self-hatred, and learn the lessons of their political ineptitude. We have been warned; it is now time to act.