Ki Tavo – Torah In Haiku

Ki Tavo

We enter a land …
Flowing with milk and honey …
But not any oil —

Three times in this week’s portion we read familiar words to describe the land our ancestors are about to enter:

Deuteronomy 26:9God brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey

Deuteronomy 26:15 You have given us, a land flowing with milk and honey, as You swore to our ancestors

Deuteronomy 27:3When you cross over to enter the land that Adonai your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey.

This week’s haiku is a play on an old joke – if only Moses had led us the other way, we’d have oil instead of “just” milk and honey. Rabbi Anchelle Perl wonders if there isn’t a curse to the wealth that comes with abundant natural resources, concluding that milk and honey are better than oil.

“God chose to give us … milk and honey. Not because these are the two most valuable items in the world but because they are the metaphors for the true blessings of life. Milk is the first food we imbibed from our mothers … abundant honey, the symbol of sweetness that makes life worth living.”

Ki Tavo also contains commandments about showing gratitude for what God has given. In fact, the first two verses cited above are from specific prayer texts that are to be spoken when particular offerings are made. Rabbi Perl’s words can help us begin to understand how to be grateful for what we have and not obsess about what we don’t.

Image by olivia mew via Flickr

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by Ed Nickow • www.thetorahinhaiku.com

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