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    Looking forward – Ki Tavo

    map_israelEvery family knows how hard it is to go on a family holiday.

    Everything packed after constant arguments about what to take, parents and children pile into the car and set off. It is probably quite a long journey and fractious children make it worse.

    “Aren’t we there yet?” they keep asking. “Not far now,” replies the sorely tried driver, fully aware that it will take at least another hour or two. Amazingly, next year they’ll do it all again!

    Not that interminable journeys are a modern problem. Imagine what it was like for the B’nei Yisra’el in the wilderness, knowing that their arrival in the Promised Land was not likely to be an soon or easy. Just look at the opening verses of this week’s reading – “When you come to the Land which the Lord our God gives you…” (Deut. 26:1-3).

    It took forty years (even the most fractious modern family never has such a lengthy trek), but on arrival a new reality had to be confronted – settling in, adjusting, carving out a future, and establishing a regime on the basis of the moral law of the Torah constitution.

    Some Israelites constantly looked back, nostalgic for what they were used to.

    But the best way to face a new chapter in life is to live for tomorrow, not yesterday, and to say it’s a time to create. As the Aliyah song used to say, “to build and to be rebuilt”.

    Olim who arrive in Israel need to decide that Israel isn’t France or America: it’s Israel, and Olim have to help make it the best Israel they can.

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