One of the highlights of the Yom Kippur liturgy is the reading of the Book of Jonah, a small book that contains a world of philosophy. The major message of Jonah is the major message of Yom Kippur, so that the proper understanding of the former will most certainly illuminate the latter.
This is Elul, the month before Rosh HaShanah, when we focus on developing new habits, new ways of doing things, so that we can start our year off right. Parshat Ki Tavo has a number of elements that can assist in this endeavor.
“If a man has a wayward and rebellious child… and they warn and flog him, but he still does not obey them; then his parents may take him out to the judges of the city” where he may be put to death. [Deuteronomy 21:18-21].
Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote: “Tzedakah [charity] lies at the heart of Judaism’s understanding of mitzvot bein adam le-chavero, interpersonal duties. An idea going back 4,000 years, it remains challenging today.” Given the state of today’s economy, it is more challenging than ever.
‘What does God ask of you, only to revere the Lord your God and to walk in all of His ways; to love Him and to serve God with all your heart and with all your soul; to observe the commandments of the Lord and His statutes for your good” [Deuteronomy 10:11-13].
Like most Jews, I grew up with memories of events that I never experienced. I remember being a slave in Egypt. I remember the Holocaust. I remember my family’s immigration journey to America. I remember the founding of the State of Israel.