December 17, 2018

Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Ki Tavo with Rabbi Paul Lewin

Our guest this week is Rabbi Paul Lewin of the North Shore Synagogue in Sydney, Australia. Rabbi Lewin was born in South Africa. He studied at the famous Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel for 10 years. His qualifications include a BA in Psychology and Education from UNISA as well as a Diploma of Education through the Herzog Institute. Rabbi Lewin arrived in Sydney in 2000. He worked for four years as the Head of Informal Jewish Education at Masada College and Youth Rabbi at Kehillat Masada. In 2004 Rabbi Lewin became Senior Minister of The North Shore Synagogue. Rabbi Lewin also serves as the College Rabbi of Masada College, and he is the Honorary Treasurer of the Rabbinical Council of NSW Inc.

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 confession of the farmer when he presents the first fruits to the Holy Temple and on the message of historic memory.

Our past discussions of Ki Tavo:

Rabbi Serge Lippe on the immigrant experience and professing gratitude

Rabbi Hayim Herring on the order of the curses mentioned in the parasha