Once the nation has entered the Land of Israel, there is a mitzvah for a farmer to take the first fruits of the new harvest and place them in a basket, before bringing them to a Kohen in the Temple (the mitzvah of bikkurim). After the Kohen takes the basket, the person who has brought the fruit reads out a text which recalls the initial descent to Egypt, the slavery and the redemption. It concludes with an expression of gratitude to God for the bounty of the Land.

At the end of every third and sixth year of the seven year shemitah cycle, one has to make sure that all the tithes from the produce of the Land from the previous years have been given to their respective recipients. Once that has been organised, a text known as viduy ma’aserot is said, which declares one’s careful commitment to the laws of tithing, followed by a prayer to God to bless the Land.

Moshe encouraged the people to keep the mitzvot and to view them every day as fresh and new. This will elevate the nation to the status of being holy and distinguished.

Moshe told the people that on the day they cross the Jordan, they should take stones, coat them with plaster and inscribe upon them the words of the Torah. They should erect these stones on Mount Eival, where they should also build an altar and bring peace-offerings.

After the nation enters the Land, they will come to Mount Gerizim and Mount Eival. Six of the tribes are to stand on one mountain, six on the other. The Levi’im will stand in between the mountains to call out the blessings and the curses, to which the people will respond “Amen”.

The sidra continues with more blessings. If we follow God’s will – our enemies will flee from us and other nations will be in awe of us. It then follows with the tochacha, the passage of retribution (which is recited in an undertone by the person reading from the Torah). If we do not listen to God and do not observe His mitzvot, the consequences will be grave. Verse after verse warns of petrifying suffering, including illness, plague, blindness, children being taken captive, being at the mercy of other peoples, and the nation becoming scattered over the Earth.

Moshe reminded the people of their wondrous Exodus from Egypt, their miraculous survival in the desert for 40 years and their victories over the mighty kings Sichon and Og.

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