• Rabbi Michael Barclay

Table for Five: Ki Tavo

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

The 13th-century mystic Rumi taught, “Mysteries are not meant to be solved. The eye goes blind when it only wants to see why.” This Torah portion reminds us that our senses are not only for understanding the physical world, but also for deepening our spiritual relationship with God.

As we approach Rosh Hashanah, it is crucial to remember this teaching. All year, we easily forget what is important and get caught up in our physical experience. What we see or hear distracts us, keeping us in a cycle of concern only about physical needs and passions.

Mortgages, school, finances and the like become our focus. We pay attention to distractions that we see rather than remembering that sight itself is miraculous. We focus on the music instead of being in awe that God created humans with musical talent. This passage reminds us to step back for a moment, re-evaluate our lives and remember the purpose of our souls.


Cheshbon ha-nefesh, an “accounting of the soul,” is the process we are to utilize during this time to look at our life practices and values. Have I really lived a life of depth? Have my priorities been reflected in my behavior? We must not be distracted by the glitter and sounds, but instead focus on the deeper desires of our soul.


In this new year, may we all be blessed to truly take an accounting of ourselves without distractions of physicality, and reconnect to a deeper love and relationship with God.


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