Dvar for Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)
Today. It’s a powerful word. It is used by doctors to define the exact moment their patients are to stop over-indulging, smoking, and drinking. It is used by account receivables to exact when they want their bills paid. Most importantly, it’s used by the Torah in describing what It wants from our attitudes. This week the Torah portion tells us: “Today Hashem commands you to perform these decrees and statutes.” (26:16) There is obviously a deeper connotation. The commandments were not given on the day that Moshe read this week’s portion. They were given forty years prior. Also, at the end of the Parsha, Moshe calls the nation together and reminds them of the miraculous events that transpired during the exodus from Egypt. He discusses “the great wonders, signs, and miracles that your eyes beheld.” (29:1-3) Then he adds something shocking: “But Hashem did not give you a heart to understand or eyes to see until today.” What can the word “today” mean in this context? Did the Jewish nation not have the heart to appreciate the value of splitting the Sea forty years back? Did they not revel in the miracle of Manna from its first earthly descent decades previously? How can Moshe say that they did not have eyes to understand until today?
Rabbi M. Kamenetzky explains that perhaps Moshe is telling his nation the secret of eternal inspiration. One may experience miraculous events. They may even have the vision of a lifetime. However, they “will not have the heart to understand or the eyes to see” until that vision is today. Unless the inspiration lives with them daily, as it did upon the moment of impact. Whether tragedy or blessing, too often an impact becomes as dull as the movement of time itself. The promises, pledges, and commitments begin to travel slowly, hand-in-hand down a memory lane paved with long-forgotten inspiration. This week Moshe tells us that even after experiencing a most memorable wonder, we still may, “not have the heart to discern nor the eyes to see.” Until we add one major ingredient. Today.