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Daily Aliya for Re’eh, Chamishi (5th Aliya)

Aliya Summary: After giving a tenth of one’s crops to the Levite, a tenth of the remainder — the “Second Tithe” — is to be taken and eaten within the confines of Jerusalem. Provision is made here for people who live far away from Jerusalem for whom it would be unfeasible to transport so much produce. Instead they may exchange the produce for money which is then taken to Jerusalem and spent on food. There is a three-year tithing cycle. After the conclusion of each cycle, we are commanded to purge our homes of any overdue tithes, give them to their intended recipients, and recite a brief prayer.

We must take the second tithe to Jerusalem and spend it there (forced vacation), and if it’s too much (good problem to have), we may covert it to cash and spend it as we see fit, within the confines of Jerusalem. And this is meant for us to learn to fear G-d all of our days (Passuk 14:23). How exactly does this invoke fear? I believe one possible explanation could be that when we separate tithe from our own produce as G-d instructed, we’ve taken the first step of understanding our place in the world. When we bring it to Jerusalem to enjoy, along with everyone else who’s done the same thing, the experience transforms into a much more shared communal reality. Suddenly all your senses are involved: You see the people and produce others bring (and implied success granted to them), you taste the foods you’ve brought, you smell everyone else’s imported fruits. These individual experience don’t solicit fear, but they do teach us of the ever-present reach that G-d has on everything that we have and are. That realization should lead to love, reverence and ultimately fear of G-d for all that we depend on Him for.