Parashat Ki Tavo (When you enter)

Parashat Ki Tavo כִּי תַבוֹ opens with the offerings of  Habikkurim (first fruits), that have been brought to the Tabernacle to acknowledge G-d’s goodness in the  provision of the produce, and to affirm that He is its true owner.

HaShem is also thanked for the gift of the land, Eretz Yis’rael.  The Birkhat ha-Mazon (blessing after meals) we say today is similar in nature, thanking G-d for both the food He provides and for the Land.  (note*  We thank G-d for the provision of the food!  We do not BLESS the food!).

The first fruits offering was brought in a spirit of joy, amidst singing and the playing of musical instruments such as flutes and tambourines. The Levi’im would chant Psalm 30…..

“I will exalt you O L-rd, for you have lifted me up out of the depths….”

The offering was shared with the Levi’im who had no portion in the land; it was also shared with Ha-ger הַגֶר (the stranger).

Tithing should be a natural part of our walk with G-d, but it is amazing how many do not understand the principle of tithing. Firstly, All that we own is G-d’s, but He in His goodness He says, ‘You can keep 90% but the 10% is mine.’ Secondly, We pay our tithes, we do not give our tithes. If we say we are ‘giving’ our tithes, we are saying, this is mine but I’m giving it to G-d. No! it is G-d’s already, we are just being obedient and paying what G-d has Commanded in His Mitzvot. Thirdly, The tithe comes off the top. It should be the first thing we do with our income, and we tithe on the gross not the net. Fourthly, we give into the storehouse. What is the storehouse? It is where we get fed. We tithe into the synagogue, where we are being fed spiritually, where we are in community. Finally, we do not give to G-d until we give above our tithe. We give to G-d (free will offerings) out of the 90%, as the 10% is already His.

This may seem strange to some, perhaps you have never thought of tithing in this way, maybe you only put so much aside each week and not the full tithe. Or maybe you have never tithed.

Malachi 3: 8 -10 says this, “Can a person rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In tenths and voluntary contributions. A curse is on you, on your whole nation, because you rob me. Bring the whole tenth into the storehouse, so that there will be food in my house, and put me to the test,” says ADONAI-Tzva’ot. “See if I won’t open for you the floodgates of heaven and pour out for you a blessing far beyond your needs.”

Now I am not teaching prosperity teaching here, but how can we ask G-d to bless us, if we are not being obedient to His Word?

If you already tithe, I pray G-d will bless you for your obedience, if you are not tithing, then take G-d at His word. You will never go without.

The story goes of an old farmer in the deep south in the USA, who no matter how much he gave to people, he always had much. One day he was asked, “How come you give and give, yet you always have more than you gave?” The old farmer replied, “Well I just shovels out to G-d and He just shovels back to me.” The man said, “yes but you always have more!” Replied the old farmer, “G-d must use a bigger shovel!”

G-d wants to bless us, but He also wants us to be obedient. “Put me to the test,” says ADONAI-Tzva’ot. “See if I won’t open for you the floodgates of heaven and pour out for you a blessing far beyond your needs.”

Rabbi Boaz