November 21, 2018

Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Ki Tavo with Rabbi Serge Lippe

Our guest this week is Rabbi Serge Lippe, senior rabbi of the Brooklyn Heights synagogue in New York. Ordained in 1991 at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), Rabbi Lippe graduated with honors from the University of Chicago with a B.A. degree in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Prior to joining BHS in 1997, he served for six years as Associate Rabbi at Temple Solel in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Rabbi Lippe has also served as faculty member at URJ Camp SWIG and Camp Eisner, and has been a regional rabbinic adviser to the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY).

This week's Torah Portion – Parashat Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) – begins with Moses instructing the people of Israel to bring the first fruit they reap in the holy land to the Holy Temple in gratitude to God. The portion continues to state the laws concerning tithes given to the Levites and to the poor. Moses then gives the children of Israel instructions on the blessings and curses they must say at Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal (the “Mount of the Blessing” and the “Mount of the Curse”). At the end of the portion, Moses gives lists of good and bad things that will happen to the people of Israel if they follow or stray from the Torah. Our discussion focuses on the ideas of the immigrant experience and professing gratitude as they are expressed in the rituals described in the opening of the parasha.

If you would like to learn some more about parashat Ki Tavo, check out our discussion with Rabbi Hayim Herring.