Rabbi Robinson’s Sermon September 1 2023

Ki Tavo for Reading 2023 

Plaut p. 1352 

Source Sheet by Yair Robinson 



Deuteronomy 27:1-4 


(1) Moses and the elders of Israel charged the people, saying: Observe all the Instruction that I enjoin upon you this day. (2) As soon as you have crossed the Jordan into the land that your God יהוה is giving you, you shall set up large stones. Coat them with plaster (3) and inscribe upon them all the words of this Teaching. When you cross over to enter the land that your God יהוה is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as יהוה, the God of your ancestors, promised you— (4) upon crossing the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, about which I charge you this day, on Mount Ebal, and coat them with plaster. 


דברים כ״ז:א׳-ד׳ 

(א) וַיְצַ֤ו מֹשֶׁה֙ וְזִקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶת־הָעָ֖ם לֵאמֹ֑ר שָׁמֹר֙ אֶת־כׇּל־הַמִּצְוָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֧ר אָנֹכִ֛י מְצַוֶּ֥ה אֶתְכֶ֖ם הַיּֽוֹם׃ (ב) וְהָיָ֗ה בַּיּוֹם֮ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תַּעַבְר֣וּ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּן֒ אֶל־הָאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ נֹתֵ֣ן לָ֑ךְ וַהֲקֵמֹתָ֤ לְךָ֙ אֲבָנִ֣ים גְּדֹל֔וֹת וְשַׂדְתָּ֥ אֹתָ֖ם בַּשִּֽׂיד׃ (ג) וְכָתַבְתָּ֣ עֲלֵיהֶ֗ן אֶֽת־כׇּל־דִּבְרֵ֛י הַתּוֹרָ֥ה הַזֹּ֖את בְּעׇבְרֶ֑ךָ לְמַ֡עַן אֲשֶׁר֩ תָּבֹ֨א אֶל־הָאָ֜רֶץ אֲֽשֶׁר־יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֣יךָ ׀ נֹתֵ֣ן לְךָ֗ אֶ֣רֶץ זָבַ֤ת חָלָב֙ וּדְבַ֔שׁ כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבֶּ֛ר יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵֽי־אֲבֹתֶ֖יךָ לָֽךְ׃ (ד) וְהָיָה֮ בְּעׇבְרְכֶ֣ם אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּן֒ תָּקִ֜ימוּ אֶת־הָאֲבָנִ֣ים הָאֵ֗לֶּה אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָנֹכִ֜י מְצַוֶּ֥ה אֶתְכֶ֛ם הַיּ֖וֹם בְּהַ֣ר עֵיבָ֑ל וְשַׂדְתָּ֥ אוֹתָ֖ם בַּשִּֽׂיד׃ 



At the cusp of a new year: Are we political or values oriented? The importance of being values-driven, and placing reminders of our values front and center. But what happens when we lose sight of our values, as individuals and a community? Answer in the story to follow.  



A certain rebbe had a close disciple who fell into a long period of staleness that troubled him deeply. He felt as if all meaning had been drained from his life, and when he prayed, his prayers turned to chalk and died in his mouth before he could utter them. The rebbe, aware of his disciple’s problem, took him out of the village to a deep, dark forest. Before they entered the forest, the rebbe said to the student, “As you are entering the forest, ask God to give you the answer to your dilemma, then forget about this prayer, because you must pay very close attention to the path through the forest. Otherwise you’ll get lost and never come out of the forest alive.” So the student entered the forest asking God for the answer to his struggle, and then he lost himself in following the path. As his rabbi had instructed him, he devoted all his attention to the path itself. Soon he began to take great pleasure in this path. He took pleasure in the working of his body as it found its own pace on the path and in the fall of his foot on the cool forest floor. He was taken with the path itself—a verdant mossy path of deep, brilliant green. When he finally came out of the forest, he was smiling broadly. The rebbe asked, “Did God give you an answer?” The student started to weep. “I forgot all about the question,” he said. “I put all my attention on the path, and after a while I took so much pleasure in what was in front of my face that I forgot about the question altogether.” “In that case,” the rebbe said, “I would say that God gave you your answer.” (Lew, Alan. This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation (pp. 171-172). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.)