Ki Tavo, A Series of Firsts

“And it will be, when you come into the land which the Lord, your God, gives you for an inheritance, and you possess it and settle in it, 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. And you shall put [them] into a basket and go to the place which the Lord, your God, will choose to have His Name dwell there.”

[Deuteronomy/Devarim 26:1-2]

This week’s Torah portion begins with discussing “first fruits.”  The first of all that grows in the ground of the Holy Land is to be dedicated to the Priests as an offering. Firsts are always special, and this week I celebrated several of them.

I had my first article printed in the Jerusalem Post.

I began volunteering at the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.

Israeli schoolchildren flooded the buses and the streets on their way to begin the first day of classes

We are heading into a new year which is sure to bring lots of firsts (May it be Gd’s will that they be only good things).  One of the customs on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is to eat a fish head, in rememberance of the following verse, which comes at the end of a long list of blessings, followed by a long list of curses which could befall the Jewish people depending on whether or not they fulfill the commandments of the Torah.

’And the Lord will set you at the head, and not at the tail, and you will be only at the top, and you will nto be at the bottom, if you obey the commandments of the Lord, you Gd, which I am commanding you this day, to observe to fulfill [them].’ [Deuteronomy/ Devarim 28:13]

New beginnings provide us with new opportunities for success or failure.  How we utilize them is up to us.


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Ilene Rosenblum is a writer and marketing professional living in Jerusalem.

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