The sedra of Ki Savo refers to the Jewish people entering the promised land. “And it shall be, when you come to the land, which the L-rd your G-d gives you as an inheritance…”
In the days of Yehoshua, the disciple of Moshe Rabbeinu who lived about 3300 years ago, the Jewish people entered the land of Israel. There were four duties that they had to perform. Our sedra explains two of these obligations. The first duty was that of Bikkurim. Our people were informed that Bikkurim, the first fruits which would be harvested, belonged to G-d. The Almighty, in turn, designated the first fruits to go to the Kohanim, the priests of Israel. The Akeidah, a great Torah commentator, suggests that this mitzvah – of giving the first fruits to the Kohanim – was a way of teaching that the land of Israel was not exclusively our land, but rather the land which G-d presented to us as an inheritance. Even though Jewish farmers would sweat and toil to produce the fruits of the land, the mitzvah of Bikkurim teaches that the power derived from the land is from Hashem and, therefore, we should recognize His greatness by fulfilling His commandments.
The second duty incumbent upon our people, when they first entered the land, is described in Devorim 27:9. And Moshe and the Kohanim and Leviim spoke unto all Israel saying: “Keep silence, and hear O Israel, this day you are become a people.”
“The Chizkuni explains the Tanchuma, which states – the Almighty made three covenants with the Jewish people. One when they left Egypt; the second when they come to Mount Sinai; and the third covenant as soon as they entered the land. The people traveled to Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. Six tribes ascended one mountain and six tribes ascended the second mountain. The elder Leviim stood between the mountains and pronounced the blessings and the curses for keeping or desecrating the Torah.
“The Chizkuni asks – why was it necessary to make a third covenant between G-d and Israel as soon as they entered the promised land? The answer – sadly, the covenant at Sinai was broken when the people worshipped the golden calf. Therefore, G-d entered a third covenant with Israel. As soon as they came into the land, they went immediately to the two mountains. When the people answered ‘Amen’ to the curses and the blessings, it was a sign that they agreed to the covenant, and once again – ‘this day you are become [sic] a people’.
“In the book of Yehoshua, we learn that the Israelites entered the promised land five days before Pesach. The third and fourth mitzvos that our people were concerned with, upon entering the land, were Bris Milah and Korban Pesach. They had to prepare themselves to properly celebrate Passover.
“May G-d’s manifold blessings be given to those who keep G-d’s covenant.”
~ Rabbi Aaron Borow